Pope Francis summons bishops for meeting on protecting minors


Pope Francis summons bishops for meeting on protecting minors

In an exclusive interview with FOX 5 after the grand jury report came out, Wuerl stated that he would not resign from his post and defended his record of dealing with predator priests while he was Pittsburgh's bishop.

Pope Francis will meet leaders of the US Catholic Church at the Vatican today, after a high profile accusation that the pontiff covered up sexual abuse allegations against an American cardinal.

Also attending the meeting were Archbishop Jose Gomez, vice president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Monsignor Brian Bransfield, the conference's general secretary.

Three of the nine council members were absent for the meetings: Cardinal George Pell, 77, who now is on trial in Australia on sex abuse charges; Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, 85, retired archbishop of Santiago, Chile, who is facing questioning over his handling of abuse allegations; and Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, Congo, who turns 79 in early October.

The McCarrick affair - coupled with revelations in the Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing decades of abuse and cover-up in six dioceses - has fueled outrage among the rank-and-file faithful who had trusted church leaders to reform themselves after the abuse scandal first erupted in Boston in 2002.

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.

Ed McFadden, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Washington, said on Wednesday that Wuerl will ask Pope Francis to accept his resignation.

Wuerl submitted his resignation three years ago, but stayed on working at the Vatican's request.

The same day also saw the announcement that the US delegation would be headed by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, head of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and will also include Francis' top sex abuse adviser, Cardinal Sean O'Malley.

The delegation of USA bishops announced no plans to speak to the media after their audience. They are expected to talk about clergy sexually abusing children and years of church officials covering up abuse claims against parish priests.

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

Viganò said that Cardinal Wuerl was "well aware of the continuous abuses committed by Cardinal McCarrick and the sanctions imposed on him by Pope Benedict" and yet ignored the sanctions and allowed McCarrick "to reside at a seminary in Washington D.C".

Abuse scandals have also shaken the Catholic Church in Australia, Chile and Ireland, among other countries. Every sixth case involved rape, more than half of the victims were 13-years-old or younger and at least 1,670 clergy were involved, Spiegel Online and Die Zeit said.

McCarrick has said that he had "absolutely no recollection" of the alleged abuse of the teenager but has not commented on the other allegations against him.