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SEVEN FIELDS, Pa. (KDKA) — Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s name will be removed from North Catholic High School.
The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh announced the decision on Wednesday.
In an Aug. 16 letter, Cardinal Wuerl himself requested the removal.
“In light of the circumstances today and lest we in any way detract from the purpose of Catholic education… I respectfully ask you to remove my name from it. In this way, there should be no distraction from the great success of the school and, most importantly, the reason for the school — the students,” Cardinal Wuerl wrote.
Among others, the letter was sent to Bishop David Zubik of the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese.
“He immediately said, ‘I think I’m going to write you a letter, and have my name taken off because I do not want anything to stand in the way of what that school is all about,’” said Bishop Zubik.
According to the diocese, the school board met on Aug. 17 and recommended Wuerl’s request be granted. That request was also approved by the board of Catholic High Schools of the Diocese of Pittsburgh on Aug. 20.
“Both boards said it was sad for us to receive his letter, but we support it for the same reasons why he wrote it,” said Bishop Zubik. “But you just make sure that when you make your decision, you also include all that he’s done.”
Bishop Zubik added that the decision to remove Cardinal Wuerl’s name was being done in the best interest of the school.
“My concern is first, foremost and always for the students, that nothing overshadows their Catholic education,” Bishop Zubik said.
KDKA’s Andy Sheehan Reports:
Meanwhile, a church in the city’s Greenfield section is also dropping Cardinal Wuerl’s name and images from their campus.
St. Rosalia’s Church also announced Wednesday that they are removing his name from their hall and also taking down two photos of him that hang near the sign. Cardinal Wuerl served as a priest there in the 1960s. It was his first assignment.
Cardinal Wuerl and Bishop Zubik have come under fire in the wake of a scathing grand jury report regarding sexual abuse in Pennsylvania dioceses.
Last week, thousands of people signed an online petition which was calling for his name to be removed from Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School.
On Monday, someone apparently spray-painted over his name on the sign outside of the school.
Last week, Attorney General Josh Shapiro accused Cardinal Wuerl of protecting child predators.
“Child rape is rape, whether it occurred in the 1980s, ‘90s, or 2018,” said Shapiro. “It is never acceptable, and it is never okay to cover it up as Bishop [David] Zubik did and as Cardinal Wuerl did.”
Cardinal Wuerl presided over 32 accused priests during his 18 years leading the Pittsburgh diocese.
Bishop Zubik has come under criticism for requiring vcitms to sign non-disclosure agreeements as part of settlements with the diocese. While some call it buying silence, Bishop Zubik says they weren’t enforced and are no longer required.
“I have tried every step of the way to do the right thing,” he said.
The bishop says in every case he removed the priest from ministry and contacted law enforcement on the basis of the first credible allegation, and provided counseling and other support to the victims.
Despite calls for his resignation, Bishop Zubik says that is not something he is considering. Instead, he says he wants to help the church move forward. Pope Francis would be the one to ultimately decide whether to remove the bishop.