Pope accepts resignation of United States bishop accused of sexual harassment

Pope Francis greets the faithful as he leaves at the end of his Weekly General Audience in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City Vatican

Pope Francis greets the faithful as he leaves at the end of his Weekly General Audience in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City Vatican

In a letter to priests in the diocese, Wuerl acknowledged Catholics' questions about their bishops' ability to lead them to healing amid a massive clerical sex-abuse crisis, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

The Vatican hasn't responded to Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano's allegations against the pope and some two dozen other Vatican and US officials, but has promised "clarifications" that could come after Francis' meeting Thursday with the USA delegation.

Vatican spokesperson Greg Burke said DiNardo and O'Malley would meet with Francis on Thursday in the Apostolic Palace.

Pope Francis has called a meeting for mid February with bishops from around the world to discuss preventing clergy sex abuse and protecting children - evidence he realizes the scandal is global and inaction threatens to undermine his legacy.

Last month, a Pennsylvania grand jury report into sexual abuse in six Pennsylvania dioceses, including Pittsburgh and Greensburg, was released.

In the 11-page statement published on 26 August, Vigano, the former Vatican ambassador to Washington, launched an unprecedented broadside by a church insider against the pope and a long list of Vatican and United States church officials.

The Pontiff will meet with top officials from the Catholic Church early next year, the Vatican press office confirmed this afternoon.


"We are grateful to the Holy Father for receiving us in audience", DiNardo said in a statement after the meeting. His statement said the group told Francis the US church was "lacerated by the evil of sexual abuse".

The grand jury report also came after a host of allegations against former Washington archbishop Theodore McCarrick, including that he molested a teenager.

This week's meeting will be chaired by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, head of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and will also include Francis's top sex abuse adviser, Cardinal Sean O'Malley. "He tries to uncover the sins, so they are visible in order to scandalize the people".

The past of the Catholic Church is being dug up in other countries.

DiNardo followed up his request for a full-fledged Vatican investigation into the McCarrick affair with a request for answers about allegations that a string of Vatican officials - including Francis - knew of McCarrick's misdeeds since 2000.

While Francis has often talked about sexual crimes as an abuse of power, some conservatives say the Pope has downplayed the role of homosexuality among priests while instead signalling a slightly more inclusive stance about gays within the church.

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