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Pope Francis summons bishops for summit on clergy sex abuse

14 September 2018
Pope Francis summons bishops for summit on clergy sex abuse

During his homily at Mass on Tuesday morning, Pope Francis blamed the devil for the sexual abuse scandal that has shaken the Catholic church to its core.

The Pope will meet the presidents of the Catholic bishops conferences from around the world in the Vatican from February 21-24, the Vatican said Wednesday.

The church is facing abuse scandals in the United States, Chile, Australia and Germany, among other places. In the USA, a grand jury report released last month from Pennsylvania found that more than 300 priests had sexually abused minors in the state over seven decades.

Wuerl's name also appeared in a recent bombshell report by the former papal nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, regarding Cardinal Theodore McCarrick-Wuerl's predecessor in Washington, DC-and his serial homosexual abuse of seminarians and priests.

The Vatican hasn't responded to the accusations by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, but has promised "clarifications" that presumably will come sometime after Francis' meeting Thursday with the USA delegation.

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.

Hours after Vigano made the statement to conservative Catholic news media, Francis had told journalists he "won't say a word" about the sensational claims.

Archbishop Lori was to meet with clergy and lay leaders of the diocese September 13 and 14.

But even DiNardo has been accused this week of covering up for a priest who was just arrested for sexually abusing children.

Pope Francis accepted the resignation of a USA bishop Thursday and authorized an investigation into allegations he sexually harassed adults, adding awkward drama to an audience with US church leaders over the abuse and cover-up scandal roiling the Catholic Church.

According to the results of a new poll published by CNN on Wednesday, Pope Francis' popularity has taken a sharp fall in the U.S. recently.

The Archbishop of Washington has said he will travel to Rome to ask the Pope to consider accepting his resignation.

Francis' key cardinal advisers announced the decision Wednesday, a day before Francis meets with USA church leaders, who are facing fresh accusations following the bombshell grand jury report.

In a letter to priests sent earlier this week, Wuerl said he planned to meet with Pope Francis "in the near future" to discuss his possible resignation.

McCarrick is one of the highest-ranking American leaders in the Catholic Church to be removed from ministry because of sex abuse charges.

In response to questions, she said there was no word yet on the expected release of the "possible and necessary clarifications" the council said were being formulated by the Holy See given the current debate on abuse in the church.