Pope meets with US church leaders over clergy sex abuse

Pope summons bishops for summit on sex-abuse prevention

Pope summons bishops for summit on sex-abuse prevention

The administrator, Baltimore Bishop William Lori, said in a statement that Francis had instructed him to "conduct an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment of adults against Bishop Bransfield".

A damning letter from the former Vatican ambassador to the USA claimed Francis and other high-ranking officials knew about the allegations against McCarrick years ago but turned a blind eye.

"In these times, it seems like the "Great Accuser" [a reference to Satan] has been unchained and is attacking bishops", Pope Francis said.

The USCCB headquarters in Washington, D.C., released a short statement more than three hours after the meeting saying the pope had "listened very deeply from the heart" as they spoke to him in "a lengthy, fruitful and good exchange" about how the USA church had been "lacerated by the evil of sexual abuse".

The pope met today in the Vatican with a small delegation of American Catholic Church leaders, amid the sexual abuse crisis that's dominated conversation about the US church.

Bransfield has faced allegations that he sexually abused teenage boys in the 1970s or early 1980s while a priest in Philadelphia.

Vigano, a former Vatican envoy to Washington, also called on the pope to step down.

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

Following a private audience with Pope Francis on Thursday morning in Vatican City, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued the following statement regarding the recent moral crisis in the American Catholic Church.

But first Pope Francis will meet with the head of the USA bishop's conference and other top USA church officials on Thursday to discuss the sex abuse scandal.

A US bishop accused of molesting adults resigned on Thursday, in the latest sex abuse scandal to rock the Catholic Church. Two dioceses also had announced allegations of inappropriate contact between Archbishop McCarrick and seminarians, resulting in settlements totaling more than $100,000.

McCarrick's removal was followed by a bombshell Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing decades of sexual abuses and a wide-ranging cover-up.

The Cardinal said the Pope had asked him to work out what he wanted to do "as we face new revelations of the extent of the horror of the clergy abuse of children and the failures in episcopal oversight". The Vatican announced his resignation while his cousin, Rev. Brian Bransfield, was in that same meeting with the pope. "This drama of abuse, especially when it is widespread and gives great scandal - think of Chile, here in Ireland or in the United States - has behind it a Church that is elitist and clericalist, an inability to be near to the people of God".

He added: "Elitism, clericalism fosters every form of abuse".

The commission, which was funded by the German Bishops' Conference, stated that "3,677 mostly male minors" had been victims of sexual abuse by 1,670 members of the clergy.

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