Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Pope Francis summons bishops to discuss sexual abuse scandal

Pope Francis summons bishops to discuss sexual abuse scandal

The pope came under scrutiny after his former apostolic nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, accused him of knowing about and ignoring sanctions placed on then-Cardinal McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI due to his sexual misconduct with seminarians.

As Pope Francis sat down at the Vatican Thursday with a delegation of US bishops and cardinals to discuss how to gain ground in the sexual abuse crisis engulfing the Catholic Church, fresh scandals emerged on both sides of the Atlantic. The cardinals' statement noted that during this week's reunion, the Council had "reflected fully together with the Holy Father on the issue of abuse".

Those allegations, as well as an explosive letter from a formal papal diplomat, have raised serious questions among senior church leaders about why McCarrick was allowed to rise through the church's ranks, as well as who knew about the accusations.

Mr DiNardo has said recent accusations of top Vatican officials, including the current pope, covering up for McCarrick deserve answers.

The US bishops pictured above are, from left, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, vice president of the conference, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the conference, Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, and Msgr.

In a letter to priests, the 77-year-old cardinal wrote that he plans to meet with the Pope to discuss stepping down. The Pope has so far refused to respond to these allegations.

The Vatican press office said Pope Francis will have presidents of the Catholic bishops conferences convene at the Vatican from February 21 to February 24.


Also Thursday, Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston, W.Va., and ordered an investigation into accusations that Bransfield sexually harassed adults.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl was named in Philadelphia's grand jury report into sex abuse in the Catholic Church as someone who had allowed priests to continue working despite allegations of sexual assault during his time as Archbishop of Pittsburgh.

The men told the pope how the US Church "is lacerated by the evil of sexual abuse".

He added: "Elitism, clericalism fosters every form of abuse".

A study commissioned by the German bishops' conference reports the sexual abuse of thousands of children by priests and religious in that country over a period of 70 years.

Pope Francis meets U.S. Catholic Church leaders and Monsignor Brian Bransfield, General Secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, during a private audience at the Vatican, Sept.13, 2018.

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