Bishops tell pope abuse scandal 'lacerated' the church

Frederick Owens
September 15, 2018

The recently released grand jury report into sex abuse within the Catholic Church named Wuerl as someone who had allowed priests to continue their work despite allegations of abuse.

Bransfield, the West Virginia bishop resigned Thursday and Pope Francis didn't waste time to accept his resignation and directed another bishop to investigate the allegation against him.

Pope Francis has summoned senior bishops from around the world to the Vatican in February to discuss the protection of minors from sexual abuse, the Vatican said on Wednesday.

The Bishop of the Wheeling-Charleston Catholic diocese, Michael Bransfield, turned 75 last weekend, and as per Catholic canon law, he submitted a letter of resignation to the pope in Rome.

"Those called to serve the Church in a leadership capacity must recognize that we are to lead not only by word, but also by personal action", Wuerl wrote in the September 13 letter posted on the Archdiocese of Washington's website.

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

Researchers who spent four years studying records and conducting new interviews found that 1,670 priests and other religious leaders were suspected of engaging in abuse - 4.4 percent of the total number of clergy in the country.

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A Vatican communique added that Francis had accepted Bishop Bransfield's resignation and handed executive responsibility of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston to Archbishop Lori as an apostolic administrator.

Archbishop Vigano has called on Pope Francis to resign because of reports that the pope knew and failed to act on accusations against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick of Washington.

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

Francis' key cardinal advisers announced plans for the summit early next year the day before the pope meets with USA church leaders embroiled in their own credibility crisis from the latest accusations in the Catholic Church's decades-long sex abuse scandal.

"My primary concern is for the care and support of the priests and people of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston at this hard time".

The Vatican said that among those meeting the pope would be the head of the USA bishops' conference, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the archbishop of the Galveston-Houston area, and Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley of Boston. He called the meeting "a lengthy, fruitful, and good exchange".

"Criminal prosecutions, governmental investigations and journalistic exposes - stemming from fearless victims and church whistleblowers - are the best way to protect kids, expose wrongdoers and end coverups", Clohessy said. The archbishop will perform both roles until a new bishop is appointed and in place.

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