Pope Francis Orders Investigation Of US Bishop After Church Leaders Meet

Pope Francis Orders Investigation Of US Bishop After Church Leaders Meet

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.

With the Catholic Church in crisis once again over clerical sex abuse and cover-up, Pope Francis will meet on Thursday with United States cardinals and bishops who are demanding to know how one of their own was able to climb the clerical ranks despite allegations that he slept with seminarians.

In a letter to priests in the diocese, Wuerl said he will meet with Francis about the resignation he presented almost three years ago at age 75, the mandatory age for Catholic bishops to submit their retirement to the Pope.

Wuerl had been implicated in a recent Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sexual abuse, which claimed that the cardinal had approved transfers for abusing priests instead of removing them from ministry.

The Americans have called on Francis to launch a Vatican-led investigation into how Theodore McCarrick, a former United States cardinal, climbed the ranks, even as rumours swirled about his behaviour.

The meeting was requested by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, after it was revealed that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick rose to his senior position despite known allegations of sexual misconduct.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl told his priests in a letter Tuesday that he will travel to Rome "very soon" to discuss his resignation with Pope Francis.

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

Wuerl, who was bishop of Pittsburg for some 18 years, offered to resign almost three years ago when he turned 75 but Francis hasn't accepted it.

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"The Holy Father Francis, after hearing the Council of Cardinals, has chose to convene a meeting with the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences of the Catholic Church on the theme of "Protection of Minors", the Vatican said.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a policy in 2002 that is regarded as the gold standard policy.

The U.S. isn't alone in digging into its past.

Abuse scandals have also shaken the Catholic Church in Australia, Chile and Ireland, among other countries.

An open question in advance of the summit is whether the Vatican will issue a universal call for bishops and religious superiors to report suspected abuse to police; now, it advises church leaders to report suspected abuse when it's required under local laws. German media reported Wednesday that a church-commissioned study detailed 3,677 abuse cases between 1946 and 2014.

A diocesan statement also referred to allegations the priest, Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, abused a 16-year-old girl in 2001.

In their conclusions, the German researchers said there was evidence that some church files were manipulated or destroyed.

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.

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