The office has technically been vacant since the last archbishop, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, resigned in October. Wuerl had been damaged by claims that he covered up sex abuse in his previous diocese of Pittsburgh. He had also maintained – in the face of claims to the contrary – that he knew nothing about the predatory sexual activities of his notorious predecessor, Theodore McCarrick.
Washington is perhaps the most sought-after diocese for ambitious American bishops – but a particular kind of bishop. While the Archbishop of New York finds himself rubbing shoulders with media and cultural luminaries, Washington’s archbishop has priceless access to lawmakers and political lobbyists. McCarrick’s talents as a fundraiser and Wuerl’s masterful diplomacy served them well in the post.
But because Washington is at the very heart of the current sex-abuse crisis, the Vatican couldn’t afford simply to hand the see to the next bureaucrat in line.
[Read more at the Catholic Herald]