Cardinal Donald Wuerl To Meet With Pope Francis On Potential Retirement

Pope Francis is caught in pensive mood during his weekly general audience at the Vatican. Francis' papacy has been thrown into crisis by accusations that he covered-up sexual misconduct by ex Cardinal Theodore

Pope Francis is caught in pensive mood during his weekly general audience at the Vatican. Francis' papacy has been thrown into crisis by accusations that he covered-up sexual misconduct by ex Cardinal Theodore

Pope Francis will meet Thursday with a delegation of US cardinals and bishops over the sex abuse and coverup scandal roiling the Catholic Church and his own papacy, the Vatican said Tuesday.

- Cardinal Donald Wuerl has sent a letter to priests saying plans to travel to Rome to meet with Pope Francis to discuss possible resignation from his position as Washington's archbishop, FOX 5 has confirmed.

The Vatican said Tuesday that the U.S. delegation would be headed by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and also include Francis' top sex abuse adviser, Cardinal Sean O'Malley.

Vigano named more than two dozen current and former Vatican and US officials and accused them of knowing about and covering up for ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who is accused of sexually molesting and harassing minors as well as adults.

Archbishop DiNardo also has said the church must answer accusations by the former Vatican ambassador to the USA that Francis and other top Vatican officials have covered up for Archbishop McCarrick since 2000.

Gaenswein's comments come after a report earlier this year identified more than 300 priests in the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania who are alleged to have committed sexual abuse that was then allegedly covered up by the church.

The Vatican has known since 2000 that McCarrick slept with seminarians.

"Today, even the Catholic Church looks full of confusion at its own 9/11, at its own September 11, even though this catastrophe isn't associated with a single date but rather at so many days and years, and innumerable victims", Gaenswein said, according to the AP.

Francis has refused to comment directly about Vigano's claims, but almost every day over the past two weeks his homily at morning Mass has seemed somewhat related to the scandal.

While no one has attacked churches with airplanes full of passengers, Gaenswein said, recent news from the U.S. "sends a message that is even more awful than the sudden collapse of all the churches of Pennsylvania together with the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington".

"These days it seems like the Great Accuser has it in for bishops", looking to "reveal sins to scandalize the people", according to a Vatican excerpts of his remarks.

"But now Francis is pope, and prelates like Cardinal Walter Kasper (another old friend of McCarrick's) and McCarrick himself are back in the mix, and busier than ever", Gibson wrote.

Gaenswein recalled that during a 2008 trip to the U.S., Benedict spoke from the National Shrine to denounce the "profound shame" and pain that abuse had caused the Catholic community.

Bishops, he said, should be men of prayer, and should know they were chosen by God and keep close to their flock.

Gaenswein said Benedict's admonition was "apparently in vain, as we see today".

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