Pope meets with U.S. church leaders over clergy sex abuse

Evarado Alatorre
Setiembre 14, 2018

The pope instructed Baltimore Archbishop William Lori to conduct an investigation into Bishop Bransfield and appointed him as the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in West Virginia.

In a separate development, an open letter published on Catholic Women's Forum, which calls on the Pope to respond to allegations by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò surrounding the sexual abuse scandal, has gained more than 44,000 signatures in just under two weeks.

DiNardo has said he wants Francis to authorize a full-fledged Vatican investigation into ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was removed as cardinal in July after a credible accusation that he groped a teenager.

While Francis has often talked about sexual crimes as an abuse of power, some conservatives say the Pope has downplayed the role of homosexuality among priests while instead signalling a slightly more inclusive stance about gays within the church.

The Vatican did not provide any further information, but did release still photos and a brief video clip after the meeting.

In a letter to priests, the 77-year-old cardinal wrote that he plans to meet with the Pope to discuss stepping down.

Some of the highest ranking Catholic leaders from the US met with Pope Francis to discuss the priest sex abuse crisis that has rocked the church.

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In February, Catholic bishops from across the world will convene in Rome at the pope's invitation to discuss the "prevention of abuse of minors and vulnerable adults".

Abuse scandals have also shaken the Catholic Church in Australia, Chile and Ireland, among other countries.

The credibility of the USA church leadership is now in tatters over the McCarrick scandal and recent revelations in the Pennsylvania grand jury report, which found that some 300 priests abused more than 1,000 children since the 1940s - and that a string of bishops in six dioceses covered up for them, including the current archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl. The Vatican announced his resignation while his cousin, Rev. Brian Bransfield, was in that same meeting with the pope.

There was no immediate indication from the Vatican as to whether the Pope would authorise a visitation into the McCarrick affair, although there is speculation that a lay-led board will be set up to investigate claims made against bishops.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) commented Thursday on the sexual abuse and cover-up scandal that is rocking the Catholic church.

An earlier comprehensive investigation into clergy sex abuse resulted in the 2004 John Jay report, which found that over 80 percent of abuse was committed against male victims, which has been used to underscore the predominantly homosexual nature of the clerical abuse crisis.

A leaked report commissioned by the church alleged that one in 20 Catholic clergy in Germany...

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