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Cardinal Wuerl, despite stepping down due to abuse scandal, presides over grand Basilica Christmas Mass
Two months ago, Cardinal Donald Wuerl stepped down early from his position as archbishop of Washington, faced with a Pennsylvania grand jury investigation that condemned him for his mixed record on handling abusive priests under his supervision.
On Christmas Day, Wuerl was robed in the majestic symbols of the Catholic church regardless, sitting on a seat designed to resemble a throne with his ceremonial head-covering shaped like a crown.
Pope Francis praised Wuerl in October even as he accepted the cardinal’s early retirement because of to the abuse scandal, and offered him a soft landing by keeping him on as administrator leading the Archdiocese of Washington until his successor is named, which has not happened yet.
On Christmas Day, Wuerl made his return, celebrating Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception as his first major public event after months of staying somewhat away from the limelight.