Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Pope Francis to Meet with US, World Catholic Leaders

Donald Wuerl to talk resignation with Pope Francis in Vatican Pope summons bishops for summit on sex-abuse prevention
Ellis Copeland | 15 September, 2018, 19:31

The grand jury's report focused on not just the sexual abuse - ranging from fondling to rape - committed by priests, but the role of the church's bishops, including Cardinal Wuerl when he was bishop of Pittsburgh, in moving miscreants to other parishes, in silencing or buying off victims and families, and in not reporting criminal acts to authorities.

The Vatican said Tuesday the meeting would be headed by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and also include Francis's top adviser on issues related to sex abuse, Cardinal Sean O'Malley. J. Brian Bransfield, general secretary of the conference.

"My primary concern is for the care and support of the priests and people of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston at this hard time", Archbishop Lori said in a press release.

A Vatican communique added that Francis had accepted Bishop Bransfield's resignation and handed executive responsibility of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston to Archbishop Lori as an apostolic administrator.

Pope Francis has called a meeting for mid February with bishops from around the world to discuss preventing clergy sex abuse and protecting children - evidence he realizes the scandal is global and inaction threatens to undermine his legacy.

In the letter, Wuerl said he's asking himself what is the best way he can serve the church and said he has heard that the archdiocese of Washington "would be well served by new leadership to help move beyond the current confusion, disappointment and disunity".

Francis has received significant criticism over his handling of abuse, including an open letter from the Catholic Women's forum that has received more than 44,000 signatures.

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The Bransfield revelation comes in the wake of the June 20 announcement that one of the most prestigious US cardinals, Theodore McCarrick, had been accused of groping a teenage altar boy in the 1970s. McCarrick was removed as a cardinal in July after a credible accusation he groped a teenager.

"My primary concern is for the care and support of the priests and people of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston at this hard time", Lori said in a statement.

Wuerl's name also appeared in a recent bombshell report by the former papal nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, regarding Cardinal Theodore McCarrick-Wuerl's predecessor in Washington, DC-and his serial homosexual abuse of seminarians and priests. "We look forward to actively continuing our discernment together identifying the most effective next steps".

A US bishop accused of molesting adults resigned on Thursday, in the latest sex abuse scandal to rock the Catholic Church.

This comes as an archbishop accuses the Pope of covering up sexual abuse allegations against an American cardinal.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the USA bishops' conference, asked for the meeting after Viganò last month accused the pope of knowing for years about sexual misconduct by former US cardinal Theodore McCarrick and doing nothing about it. German media reported Wednesday that a church-commissioned study detailed 3,677 abuse cases between 1946 and 2014.

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