Pope calls bishops to 'child protection' meeting in February

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick archbishop emeritus of Washington was sanctioned

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick archbishop emeritus of Washington was sanctioned

In the letter sent to the D.C. priests on Tuesday (Sept. 11), Wuerl noted that he had prayed with clergy the week before "to discern the best course of action for me to pursue as we face new revelations of the extent of the horror of the clergy abuse of children and the failures of episcopal oversight".

The cardinal archbishop of Galveston-Houston had requested a meeting with Francis some time ago, for the objective of asking for a Vatican investigation into McCarrick.

Abuse scandals have also shaken the Catholic Church in Australia, Chile and Ireland, among other countries.

A Vatican spokesman says the meeting at the Apostolic Palace on Thursday will include Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, who leads the U.S. Conference of Bishops, and Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston, who advises the pope on sex abuse issues.

The council has been meeting with Francis over the last three days and on Monday expressed their "full solidarity" with the Pope noting that the Vatican was preparing a response to an explosive dossier from Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò.

The investigation and resignation were announced on the same day that Francis is meeting with a delegation of U.S. Catholic cardinals and bishops in the wake of allegations of sex abuse and coverups of wrongdoing.

Wuerl is facing increasing scrutiny both over what he may have known about abuse allegations against his predecessor, former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in Washington, and how he handled abusive priests while he headed the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

St. John Paul II made him archbishop of Washington and a cardinal in 2001, presumably because Vatican officials were impressed by his fundraising prowess and considered his past homosexual activity a mere "moral lapse" and not a gross abuse of power, it added.

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

Archbishop Georg Gaenswein told a book presentation that he by no means was comparing the scandal to the almost 3 000 people killed in the United States 17 years ago on Tuesday, on September 11, 2001.

Wuerl had been implicated in a recent Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sexual abuse, which claimed that the cardinal had approved transfers for abusing priests instead of removing them from ministry.

DiNardo has also said recent accusations that senior Vatican officials including the current pope had covered up for McCarrick since 2000 deserve answers.

The US bishops next meet as a body in November in Baltimore, where they are expected to debate and vote on DiNardo's plans.

In that letter, Vigano implicated Pope Francis in the McCarrick cover-up and called on him to resign the papacy.

Gaenswein's said Benedict's admonition was "apparently in vain, as we see today".

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