Pope Francis summons bishops from all over world for sex abuse summit

Pope summons bishops for summit on sex-abuse prevention

The pope was scheduled to meet Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, who leads the US Conference of Bishops, and Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston, who advises the pope on sex abuse issues.

The meeting of more than 100 church leaders is believed to be the first of its kind and a recognition that top church officials view the sex abuse scandal as global in scope.

Last month Francis called for "silence and prayer" for those involved in the scandal and criticised Irish church authorities for failing to act to sexual over abuse allegations after he met with victims in Dublin.

A delegation of USA cardinals and bishops is already heading to the Vatican Thursday to meet with Francis over accusations from a retired Vatican ambassador that he rehabilitated a top American cardinal from sanctions imposed by Pope Benedict XVI for having molested and harassed adult seminarians.

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.

In a more recent letter addressed to the priests of Washington, D.C., Wuerl indicated that he intends, "in the very near future, to go to Rome to meet with our Holy Father about the resignation I presented almost three years ago, November 12, 2015". McFadden said he did not know when the meeting would occur.

But he said the years-long scandal, and recent revelations in the Pennsylvania grand jury report, showed just "how many souls have been wounded irrevocably and mortally by priests from the Catholic Church".

Cardinal DiNardo said he wanted to present a "plan of action" to the pope to make reporting of abuse and misconduct by bishops easier.




The poll showed that only 48 percent of Americans in general supported the Argentinian pontiff and his popularity has also plummeted among U.S. catholics to 63 percent from 83 percent 18 months ago.

Wuerl, who was bishop of Pittsburg for some 18 years, offered to resign almost three years ago when he turned 75 but Francis hasn't accepted it.

The announcement of the Bransfield resignation and investigation followed Francis' meeting with leaders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City.

In Germany, a church-commissioned study detailed 3,677 abuse cases against minors, mostly boys, between 1946 and 2014, involving 1,670 clergy.

News of the investigation came as a meeting was getting underway between Francis and USA cardinals and bishops to discuss allegations involving a former American cardinal.

The bishop had been investigated for an alleged groping incident in 2007 and was implicated in court testimony in 2012 in an infamous Philadelphia priestly sex abuse case. He was instructed by the Vatican to investigate allegations of "sexual harassment of adults" against Bishop Bransfield, according to a September 13 statement from the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. He says a review is warranted "to determine how best we can protect West Virginians who might have been victims".

In his statement August 16, Cardinal DiNardo said the USCCB Executive Committee had established three goals: "an investigation into the questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick; an opening of new and confidential channels for reporting complaints against bishops; and advocacy for more effective resolution of future complaints".

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