Cardinal Ouellet's letter, written with the approval of Pope Francis, was published the day after the Vatican said the pope had ordered a "thorough study of the entire documentation present in the archives of the dicasteries and offices of the Holy See regarding the former Cardinal McCarrick in order to ascertain all the relevant facts, to place them in their historical context and to evaluate them objectively". He observed that their shared mission is "to take care that the people not only remain united, but become witnesses of the Gospel".
Francis ordered McCarrick to retire to a life of prayer and penitence after American Church officials said as part of a separate investigation that allegations that McCarrick had sexually abused a 16-year-old boy nearly 50 years ago were credible and substantiated. "There are not many people in the church who are totally enthusiastic about all three of them".
He added: "However, your nobility has led you not to choose this way of defense".
"In response to your unjust and unjustified attack, dear Vigano, I conclude that your accusation is a political setup without any real foundation that could incriminate the pope, and I repeat that it has profoundly wounded the communion of the church", Ouellet wrote.
A month after Pope Francis wrote an open letter to all Catholics regarding the "the abuse of power and of conscience at the hands of priests over a period of approximately seventy years" within the church, he has now laid the blame of that abuse at the feet of the devil itself. "Your renunciation is a sign of your availability and docility to the Spirit who continues to act in his Church". CBS News correspondent Nikki Battiste asked Wuerl in August. However, the president and vice president of the conference - Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles - are at the Vatican for the Synod of Bishops and are likely to meet the pope again today.
Wuerl had originally resigned on his 75th birthday, November 12, 2015, as is the custom among Catholic bishops.
The Cardinal has been a figure of much contention since June, however, because of his relationship to disgraced former cardinal Theodore McCarrick and his role in handling clerical sexual abuse cases as Bishop of Pittsburgh.
The pope goes on to extol Wuerl's move as that of a "shepherd" who, "by widening his vision to recognize a greater good that can benefit the whole body, prioritizes actions that support, stimulate and make the unity and mission of the Church grow above every kind of sterile division sown by the father of lies". But he wrote: "You can not end your priestly life in an open and scandalous rebellion that inflicts a painful wound" on the church and divides its people. "I have never heard Pope Francis allude to this self-styled advisor during his pontificate regarding nominations in America, though he does not hide the trust that he has in some of the Bishops".
"I think that is the moment where we need to put on the agenda not only the question of prevention but also of accountability", Archbishop Scicluna told reporters.