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DC archbishop will ask Pope Francis to accept his resignation: report

Washington, D.C.'s Cardinal Wuerl, will travel to Rome to ask Pope Francis to accept his resignation "in the very near future," a spokesman told CNN.

Archdiocese of Washington spokesman Ed McFadden told CNN on Wednesday that he did not know when precisely the meeting would occur. 

Wuerl had previously said he would discuss the possibility of his resignation during a meeting with the pope.

"Our discernment here, I believe, has indicated the way forward to bring healing and a new beginning at the service of this church," Wuerl told CNN Tuesday.

He added that the pope's decision to accept or reject his resignation "is an essential aspect so that this archdiocesan church we all love can move forward."

The Archdiocese did not confirm to The Hill that Wuerl would ask the pope to accept his resignation during the meeting. Archdiocese spokesman Chieko Noguchi pointed to a resignation letter that Wuerl submitted to the pope several years ago, a tradition when cardinals reach age 75. The meeting may involve a discussion of that letter.

Wuerl has faced increasing pressure to resign over his conduct as Bishop of Pittsburgh as well as accusations from Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano that Wuerl covered up sexual abuse allegations against former D.C. archbishop Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. 

"Cardinal Wuerl, well aware of the continuous abuses committed by Cardinal McCarrick and the sanctions imposed on him by Pope Benedict, transgressing the pope's order, also allowed him to reside at a seminary in Washington, D.C.," Vigano wrote in his 11-page letter that accused a variety of top church officials of covering up abuse. "In doing so, he put other seminarians at risk."

Wuerl has categorically denied any wrongdoing on his part.

McCarrick was barred from public ministry earlier this summer, after the church deemed allegations that he had molested a minor to be "credible."

McCarrick has denied the accusations. 

Vigano also accused Francis of willfully ignoring McCarrick's sexual abuse, a claim the pope has previously declined to confirm or denyThe Vatican said Monday that it is planning a response to the allegations regarding the pope.

The Vatican's announcement came after the Catholic News Service published a 2006 letter from a top Vatican official that confirmed some important aspects of Vigano's account. 

On Wednesday, Francis called for a meeting of a group of cardinals, not including Wuerl, to discuss the wider abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.

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