Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Pope calls for church leaders to attend abuse summit

Pope calls for church leaders to attend abuse summit

DiNardo requested a full-fledged Vatican investigation into the McCarrick affair, and said he also wanted answers to allegations that a string of Vatican officials knew of McCarrick's misdeeds since 2000, but turned a blind eye. Archbishop Jose Gomez, vice president of the bishops' conference, and Monsignor Brian Bransfield, the conference secretary, will also attend, according to the Vatican.

The Vatican announced that Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of West Virginia Bishop Michael Bransfield, and had named a temporary administrator for his Wheeling-Charleston diocese.

The Vatican said that among those meeting the pope would be the head of the US bishops' conference, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the archbishop of the Galveston-Houston area, and Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley of Boston.

The Vatican press office said Pope Francis will have presidents of the Catholic bishops conferences convene at the Vatican from February 21 to February 24.

The Vatican has known since at least 2000 that the archbishop would habitually invite seminary students to his New Jersey beach house and into his bed.

"On Monday, September 3, prior to our annual Labor Day gathering, we had an opportunity to pray together and, as I was asked by our Holy Father Pope Francis, to discern the best course of action for me to pursue as we face new revelations of the extent of the horror of the clergy abuse of children and the failures in episcopal oversight", Wuerl wrote in the letter.

Surveys show plummeting confidence in the Church the United States, Chile, Australia, and Ireland where the scandal has hit hardest, as well as in other countries.

Last month, conservative Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano claimed Pope Francis had personally ignored abuse allegations against prominent U.S. cardinal Theodore McCarrick for five years.

He said: "In these times, it seems like the 'Great Accuser" has been unchained and has it in for bishops.

'True, we are all sinners, we bishops.

Francis has, however, responded to the overall scandal with a series of initiatives aimed at trying to convince the faithful that he "gets it" and is prepared to take measures to put an end to what he has called the "culture of cover-up" in the church. "He tries to uncover the sins, so they are visible in order to scandalise the people".

The Vatican announced the event after Francis met with his Council of Cardinals, his de facto cabinet. A top aide to Pope Benedict and Pope Francis on Tuesday said the scandal amounted to the church's "own 9/11" catastrophe.

He began to be publicly criticized last month after a Pennsylvania Grand Jury report said more than 300 priests had abused over 1,000 children, dating back to the 1940s.

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.

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