National Catholic Reporter
August 6, 2018
By Joshua J. McElwee
Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl has proposed that the national conference of U.S. Catholic bishops create a new high-level panel to receive and evaluate any allegations or rumors of sexual misconduct by one of its member bishops.
In an NCR interview focused on how the American church should address the wider systemic questions raised by the revelations of sexual abuse by his predecessor, now former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Wuerl also suggested that the Vatican could designate one of its offices to act on the proposed panel's findings.
Although Wuerl said he had not personally been aware of rumors about McCarrick's alleged abuse of young men during the former cardinal's time as a priest and bishop, he acknowledged that others have now brought forward earlier existence of such rumors.
"If there were [rumors], and if people heard them, there needs to be some mechanism by which there can be at least an evaluation and review of them," said Wuerl, speaking in a phone conversation.
"I think it's very important that we ... as bishops enter into that world and say, 'If there is an accumulation of rumors, ought not something be said?' " the cardinal continued.
"Would we have some sort of a panel, a board, of bishops ... where we would take it upon ourselves, or a number of bishops would be deputed, to ask about those rumors?" he suggested.