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Cardinal Wuerl will not attend the World Meeting of Families

Cardinal Donald Wuerl (CNS photo/Tom Tracy)

Cardinal Donald Wuerl has withdrawn from the World Meeting of Families in Dublin.

The Archbishop of Washington had been scheduled to give an address on Wednesday entitled “The Welfare of the Family is Decisive for the Future of the World”.

The cardinal was heavily criticised in the Pennsylvania grand jury report, which suggested he had mishandled abuse cases while serving as Bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006.

But he has strongly defended his record and has not given a reason for pulling out of the event in Dublin.

The grand jury report has prompted outrage in the American Church and calls for the cardinal’s resignation.

Cardinal Wuerl submitted a resignation letter to Pope Francis in 2015, when he turned 75, but has remained in post at the Pope’s discretion.

Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston has also withdrawn from the World Meeting of Families, which takes place on August 21-26. He said he wanted to focus on an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct at the archdiocesan seminary.