Washington Area's Cardinal Wuerl to Participate in Papal Conclave
Cardinal Donald Wuerl—archbishop of the Archdiocese of Washington, which includes Montgomery and Prince George's counties—is one of 10 American cardinals who will vote on the new pope.
When the papal conclave meets to select a new pope for the Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Donald Wuerl—archbishop of the Archdiocese of Washington, which includes Washington, DC, and Maryland's Montgomery, Prince George's, Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's counties—will take part in the selection process.
Wuerl is one of 10 American cardinals who are of voting age (i.e., under the age of 80) in the College of Cardinals, to which Wuerl was named in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI, who announced his resignation on Monday. The pope's resignation will take effect on Feb. 28, and the papal conclave—made up of all 118 cardinals eligible to vote—must meet to choose a new pope within 15 to 20 days after that, CBS News reported.
"Pope Benedict XVI’s love for the Church is such that he has concluded it would be better not to try to lead this huge flock without the full strength of all of his energies. We pray for him, we pray for the Church," Wuerl said at a press conference on Monday morning at The Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, DC.
"It is a sign of the great humility of this Pope and his love of the Church that he has the courage to recognize that he doesn’t have the physical energy to discharge his duties as Pope. That recognition says to me that he is a very humble and honest person," Wuerl added.
Any baptized Roman Catholic is eligible to be pope, but only cardinals have been selected since 1378, CBS News reported. Wuerl wouldn't speculate on possible candidates for pope, but said he hoped the person chosen "would [have] a very strong focus on the spiritual mission of the Church."
"I think that when we go into the conclave, what has to drive all of us, what has to be uppermost in the hearts and minds of all of us is, 'What is God asking of us in making a choice for Pope? Who will fill the Chair of Peter?' " Wuerl said, referring to St. Peter, the first pope.
"Pope Benedict XVI's legacy is his engagement of faith with the modern world. He has called on all of us to focus on the spiritual mission of the Church, proclaim the Gospel and once again, bring this personal relationship all of us are capable of having with God, back to the foreground. ... He declared a Year of Faith to remind all of us that there is a basic doctrine that is bedrock for Catholic faith."
Watch a video of Wuerl's press conference on YouTube. Or, listen to an audio recording of the press conference.
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