Cardinal Wuerl received $2 million in 2020 for ‘ministry activities’

Cardinal Wuerl received $2 million in 2020 for ‘ministry activities’ Cardinal Donald Wuerl. Photo: CNA

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop emeritus of Washington DC who stepped down in 2018 amid scandal, received over $2 million from the archdiocese last year for unspecified “ministry activities” an investigation has found.

A March 3 examination of the archdiocese’s financial records by The Pillar found that Cardinal Wuerl was allocated $2,012,639 for “continuing ministry activities” during fiscal year 2020.

The amount appropriated to Cardinal Wuerl is up from approximately $1.5 million in 2019. The archdiocesan financial statement does not detail what “continuing ministry activities” the funds facilitated.

In contrast, the amount the archdiocese allocated for “Formation of priests” declined slightly from $1.1 million in 2019 to just over $1 million in 2020.

Similarly, “Archdiocesan charitable giving” in 2020 was listed at just over $401,000, down from just over $651,000 in fiscal year 2019.

The Pillar confirmed that Cardinal Wuerl gave at least one retreat to a group of US bishops in January 2021. The archdiocese did not respond to The Pillar’s questions about what other ministry responsibilities, if any, the archdiocese had given Cardinal Wuerl.

Revelations during summer 2018 about the sexual misconduct of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick raised questions about whether Cardinal Wuerl, McCarrick’s successor, was aware of McCarrick’s misdeeds.

Previous reporting by CNA, as well as the recent McCarrick Report, found that Cardinal Wuerl was made aware in 2004 of inappropriate conduct, apparently not of a sexual nature, on the part of McCarrick involving an adult.