Published: Fri, September 14, 2018

Pope calls unprecedented meeting of top officials over sexual abuse

Pope calls unprecedented meeting of top officials over sexual abuse

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.

As Pope Francis sat down at the Vatican Thursday with a delegation of US bishops and cardinals to discuss how to gain ground in the sexual abuse crisis engulfing the Catholic Church, fresh scandals emerged on both sides of the Atlantic.

According to a new poll published by the USA news channel CNN on Wednesday, Pope Francis's popularity has nosedived in the United States recently. The U.S. bishops said Pope Francis "listened deeply from the heart" in their discussions but they offered few details and no "next steps".

This also applies to the findings that provide a deeper insight into the actions of perpetrators and the behavior of Church leaders over the past decades. The Vatican Press Office explained that, after hearing the Council of Cardinals, the Pope chose to convene the meeting, which will be tackling the theme of "Protection of minors".

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

The pope did meet Thursday with Cardinal Daniel DiNardo and Cardinal Sean O'Malley, the pope's top adviser on clergy sex abuse.

Francis removed him in July when the allegations were deemed credible, and since then, several other former seminarians and priests have come forward saying they were also abused or harassed by McCarrick.

The Vatican announced Thursday that Pope Francis accepted the resignation of West Virginia Bishop Michael Bransfield, who has been accused of sexually harassing adults.

Pope Francis is summoning the presidents of every bishops conference around the world for a February summit to discuss preventing clergy sex abuse and protecting children - evidence that he realizes the scandal is global and that inaction threatens to undermine his legacy.

Pope Francis addressed the recent sex abuse scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church in some controversial remarks Tuesday in his homily.

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.

The accusations shook the US Church, following a damning Grand Jury report in the state of Pennsylvania that found that 301 priests in the state had sexually abused minors over the past 70 years.

DiNardo's deputy Jose Horacio Gomez and general secretary Brian Bransfield also attended the closed-door meeting.

The men told the pope how the US Church "is lacerated by the evil of sexual abuse".

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

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