Pope Francis. AFP

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of US Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who was blamed for covering up pedophile priests when he was a bishop in Pennsylvania.

The Vatican made this known in a statement on Friday.

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Wuerl, who has stepped down as archbishop of Washington, had announced last month that he planned to meet with the pope to discuss his resignation.

Also, he prostrated to victims of abuse in a sign of repentance at a mass.

A sweeping grand jury report released in August revealed credible allegations against more than 300 predator priests and identified over 1,000 victims of child sex abuse covered up for decades by the Catholic Church in the state of Pennsylvania.

In the report, Wuerl, who was bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006, is repeatedly cited as one of the church leaders who helped to cover up the scandal, and he has faced numerous calls for his resignation, including from his own clergy.