Pope to meet USA church leaders over 'abuse cover-up'

Pope to meet USA church leaders over 'abuse cover-up'

Pope to meet USA church leaders over 'abuse cover-up'

Francis appointed Baltimore Bishop William Lori to take over Bransfield's diocese in West Virginia temporarily.

Last month, conservative Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano claimed Pope Francis had personally ignored abuse allegations against prominent United States cardinal Theodore McCarrick for five years.

After launching a "season of healing" in the archdiocese on 14 September, the cardinal explained to his priests that "in the very near future" he plans "to meet with our Holy Father about the resignation I presented almost three years ago, November 12, 2015".

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The 81-year-old Jesuit Pontiff, the cardinal explained, "listened very deeply from the heart" during what was "a lengthy, fruitful, and good exchange".

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The Vatican did not provide any further information, but did release still photos and a brief video clip after the meeting. Accompanying them at the meeting was Boston Cardinal Sean O' Malley, who is president of the Vatican's Commission for the protection of minors.

The Archbishop of Washington has said he will travel to Rome to ask the Pope to consider accepting his resignation.

The announcement comes amid growing criticism of the Pope's role in dealing with historical child abuse within the Catholic Church, and a day before he is scheduled to meet Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"There is no institution that we're afraid to investigate, period", Wray said. Last month, a Pennsylvania grand jury accused six Catholic dioceses of covering up the abuse of more than 1,000 children by more than 300 clergy.

Also on Wednesday, it was revealed that the German Catholic Church will admit to "at least" 3,766 cases of child sex abuse by the clergy between 1946 and 2014 in an upcoming report that leaked to local media outlets Die Zeit and Spiegel Online.

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On the eve of the US audience, Francis announced he was summoning the presidents of bishops conferences around the world to a February summit to discuss prevention measures and protection of minors and vulnerable adults.

Also attending the meeting were Archbishop Jose Gomez, vice president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Monsignor Brian Bransfield, the conference's general secretary. Protocols for dealing with abuse in the church vary wildly from country to country.

The pope initially said he would not say a "single word" on the accusations and refused to even answer a question about when he first knew of McCarrick's behavior.

The Vatican in 2011 ordered every bishops conference around the world to develop written guidelines to prevent abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.

However, the wave of sex abuse claims involving Catholic Church clergy in the US continues.

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