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Pope accepts resignation of US bishop accused of sexual harassment

Pope accepts resignation of US bishop accused of sexual harassment”

Pope Francis is summoning senior Catholic bishops from around the world to a February summit to discuss the church's burgeoning clergy sex abuse scandal involving attacks on minors and years of cover-ups of allegations against parish priests.

The Feb. 21-24 meeting at the Vatican is believed to be the first of its kind, and signals a realization at the highest levels of the church that clergy sex abuse is a global problem and not restricted to the Anglo-Saxon world, as many church leaders have long tried to insist.

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.

Claiming the Pope had personally ignored abuse allegations against prominent USA cardinal Theodore McCarrick for five years, Vigano also called on Francis to step down.

The men told the pope how the US Church "is lacerated by the evil of sexual abuse".

A former ambassador to the Holy See, Monsignor Carlo Vigano, has even demanded the pope's resignation, accusing him of covering up for McCarrick.

He said: "In these times, it seems like the 'Great Accuser" has been unchained and has it in for bishops.

Pope Francis has ordered an investigation into an American bishop accused of sexually harassing adults.

While most have obliged, other conferences particularly in Africa have not, either citing lack of resources or other impediments.

U.S. Catholic Church leaders and Monsignor Brian Bransfield General Secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops during a private audience at the Vatican Sept.13 2018
Vatican Media via Reuters

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

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

An exhaustive, almost 900-page grand jury investigation into sexual abuse by Pennsylvania priests mentions Wuerl over 200 times.

No details were given on what exactly was discussed at the meeting or what the USA church plans to do.

The US church was also rocked by a grand jury report that said 300 priests in Pennsylvania had abused more than 1,000 children since the 1940s. McCarrick, 88, became a cardinal in 2001 and served as archbishop of Washington from 2001 to 2006.

The research team also stated that they "did not have access to the original files of the Catholic Church" but that all "archives and files of the dioceses had been investigated only by diocesan personnel or by law firms hired by the dioceses".

The report was commissioned by the German bishops' conference and scheduled to be presented September 25 at the autumn plenary session of the German bishops, as CNA Deutsch reported. "The questions raised deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence".

Francis removed him in July when the allegations were deemed credible, and since then, several other former seminarians and priests have come forward saying they were also abused or harassed by McCarrick.



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