Pope calls meeting of key bishops on sexual abuse: Vatican
Pope calls meeting of key bishops on sexual abuse: Vatican
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15 September, 2018, 19:25
Pope Francis had on September 12 ordered the convention of a global summit of presidents of Catholic bishops' conferences to address the issue and the protection of children as the Church faces a growing backlash amid widespread allegations of child abuse and cover-ups from Chile in South America to Germany in Europe.
A Vatican spokesperson said the meeting of the heads of national Catholic bishops conferences would take place February 21-24. Other clergy sex abuse scandals have occurred in countries including Germany, Argentina, Australia, Ireland and Chile.
Archbishop DiNardo also has said the church must answer accusations by the former Vatican ambassador to the US that Francis and other top Vatican officials have covered up for Archbishop McCarrick since 2000.
The head of the United States bishops conference, Houston Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, requested an audience with the pope last month after the revelation that McCarrick had risen through the ranks even though sexual misconduct allegations against him were an open secret.
According to a new poll published by the U.S. news channel CNN on Wednesday, Pope Francis's popularity has nosedived in the United States recently.
The summit was announced a day before Francis will meet American church leaders hit by fresh accusations over the cover-up of sex abuse by priests.
The men told the pope how the US Church "is lacerated by the evil of sexual abuse".
The Vatican said on Tuesday that the US delegation would be headed by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, head of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and also include Francis' top sex abuse adviser, Cardinal Sean O'Malley.
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Cardinal DiNardo said he wanted to present an "action plan" to the pope to facilitate reporting of abuse and misconduct by bishops.
"Criminal prosecutions, governmental investigations and journalistic exposes - stemming from courageous victims and church whistleblowers - are the best way to protect kids, expose wrongdoers and end coverups", Clohessy said.
The USCCB statement described the encounter as "a lengthy, fruitful and good exchange", but did not enter into details about what was discussed or whether any concrete measures were taken or promised.
The summit recalls the April 2002 meeting John Paul called with the senior United States church leadership after the sex abuse scandal first exploded publicly in Boston.
McCarrick was removed as a cardinal by Pope Francis in July after a church investigation found recent allegations believable.
Last month, in a letter to the world's Catholics, Francis said the church must prevent sexual abuse from being "covered up and perpetuated".
The archdiocese issued a statement Wednesday confirming that both alleged victims had come forward to report abuse by the priest, the Rev. Manuel LaRosa-Lopez, one of them in 2001.
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