Bishops tell pope abuse scandal 'lacerated' the church

Sergio Conner
September 14, 2018

The archbishop of Baltimore, William E. Lori, has been appointed to fill in on an interim basis in West Virginia - serving in both roles - until a permanent bishop is chosen.

Last month, conservative Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano claimed Pope Francis had personally ignored abuse allegations against prominent USA cardinal Theodore McCarrick for five years. "It is oppressive and shameful for us", Bishop Stephan Ackermann of Trier said in a statement Wednesday.

Interested in Pope Francis? The U.S. bishops said Pope Francis "listened deeply from the heart" in their discussions but they offered few details and no "next steps". Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago even claimed that people were criticizing the way the pope was silent on allegations of abuse and cover-up because he was "Latino".

Those allegations against Bransfield are not included the statement.

"11 letter to priests", reads a tweet from the Archdiocese of Washington, "Cardinal Wuerl shared that the best way to serve the Church as it moves into the future will be to meet soon with Pope Francis to request that he accept his resignation that was submitted three years ago".

The Vatican said Tuesday the meeting would be headed by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and also include Francis' top sex abuse adviser, Cardinal Sean O'Malley. Two dioceses also had announced allegations of inappropriate contact between Archbishop McCarrick and seminarians, resulting in settlements totaling more than $100,000.

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Francis called for an unprecedented meeting of Catholic bishops in February to discuss the sexual abuse scandal and what can be done to keep children safe.

Lori said Francis had also instructed him to "conduct an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment of adults against Bishop Bransfield".

Viganò, a former Vatican ambassador to the U.S., said he told the Pope about the allegations five years ago, but the pontiff did nothing about it. Viganò subsequently urged the Pope to resign.

DiNardo has said that he wants the pontiff to authorize a full-fledged investigation of the McCarrick case and the allegations of a coverup by the Vatican. Protocols for dealing with abuse in the church vary wildly from country to country.

On Wednesday, German media reported that a church-commissioned study on abuse in the German church detailed 3,677 abuses cases between 1946 and 2014, with more than half of the victims aged 13 or younger and most boys.

In the United States alone, the church spent about $4bn in compensation and other costs related to the priest sex abuse crisis between 1950 and 2015, according to the National Catholic Reporter.

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