Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Pope Francis summons bishops for meeting on protecting minors

Pope To Meet With U.S. Church Leaders Over Clergy Sex Abuse The Latest: Sex abuse: Pope to meet Thursday with US bishops
Kenny Thornton | 13 September, 2018, 21:28

But first Pope Francis will meet with the head of the U.S. bishop's conference and other top United States church officials on Thursday to discuss the sex abuse scandal.

The meeting, on February 21-24, is believed to be the first of its kind.

Pope Francis has ordered an investigation of an American bishop accused of sexual misconduct with adults and accepted his resignation, deepening a worldwide clerical abuse scandal.

In the USA, a grand jury report released last month from Pennsylvania found that more than 300 priests had sexually abused minors in the state over seven decades.

The Vatican announced Tuesday that Francis will meet this week with two other US cardinals, one of whom has said he wants a full-scale Vatican investigation of Archbishop McCarrick.

After weeks of silence and mounting pressure from the laity, the Vatican now says it will issue a response to allegations made by Archbishop Maria Viganò, accusing Pope Francis and several high-ranking prelates of participating in a coverup for the sexually abusive then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. The development, announced just as a highly anticipated meeting between Francis and US cardinals and bishops was getting under way, lent a dramatic twist to the emergency gathering, called to address another scandal involving an ex-U.S. cardinal.

DiNardo, archbishop of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, requested the meeting with Pope Francis as the Catholic Church in the United States faces clergy sex abuse scandals on several fronts. The grand jury. The report found that a string of bishops in six dioceses covered up for the predators, including the current archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl.

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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.

Since the Pennsylvania report was issued last month, prosecutors in a half-dozen USA states have announced plans for similar investigations.

But the US plan has looked less like a model recently, given it exempted bishops like McCarrick.

The past of the Catholic Church is being dug up in other countries.

A diocesan statement also referred to allegations the priest, Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, abused a 16-year-old girl in 2001.

Garcia Ovejero reiterated the council's last written statement from September 10 in which the members asked Pope Francis for a reflection on "the work, structure and composition of the council itself, also taking into account the advanced age of some of its members". Many cases were not brought to justice, and sometimes abuse suspects - primarily priests - were moved to other dioceses without new congregations being informed about the pastor's past, they said.

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