Power 100: Cardinal Donald Wuerl

Cardinal Donald Wuerl
Catholic Archbishop of Washington

“Unusual for Washington, Cardinal Wuerl doesn’t like the limelight, and he’s not comfortable with the press, but he can be a player behind the scenes,” says Tom Reese, a Jesuit priest who is a District-based senior analyst of the Religion News Service. Another knowledgeable Catholic cleric described the cardinal a bit less kindly as “cautious, very orthodox and a very cagey fellow.” As spiritual head of the area’s 650,000 Roman Catholics (22 percent of the population) the cardinal is hardly a combative prelate. Observers tend to regard him as moderate on most issues. Wuerl is also seen as close to Pope Francis (but then he was also seen as close to Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI). In 2017 Pope Francis appointed him to a key Curial Vatican committee responsible for appointing new bishops.

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