Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Pope orders investigation into U.S. bishop

Catholic Church in United States are shaken by Grand Jury report that found 301 priests sexually abusing minors Catholic Church in United States are shaken by Grand Jury report that found 301 priests sexually abusing minors
Deanna Wagner | 14 September, 2018, 12:34

The administrator, Baltimore Bishop William Lori, said in a statement that Francis had instructed him to "conduct an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment of adults against Bishop Bransfield".

Pope Francis removed McCarrick as a cardinal in July, but the Vatican's former US ambassador, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, has called for the pope step down in the wake of his failure to act against McCarrick until recently.

The development, announc- ed just as a highly anticipated meeting between Francis and United States cardinals and bishops was beginning, lent a dramatic twist to the emergency gathering, called to address another scandal involving an ex-US cardinal.

"In these times, it seems like the "Great Accuser" [a reference to Satan] has been unchained and is attacking bishops", Pope Francis said.

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

Cardinal Donald Wuerl has indicated that he will soon travel to Rome to ask Pope Francis to accept his resignation as Archbishop of Washington, D.C.

Those allegations against Bransfield are not included the statement.

The crisis has drawn in the Pope following accusations by a retired Vatican official that Francis rehabilitated the former Archbishop of Washington, Theodore McCarrick, after McCarrick was sanctioned for sexually abusive behaviour with seminarians.

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The private encounter came a day after Pope Francis summoned the president of every bishops' conference in the world to a meeting at the Vatican on the theme of "the protection of minors".

The Vatican said Tuesday the delegation would be headed by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and also include Francis' top sex abuse adviser, Cardinal Sean O'Malley.

The U.S. conference of bishops issued what is considered the gold-standard policy in 2002, requiring accusations of abuse to be reported to police and the permanent removal from ministry of any priest found to have abused a minor.

In August, a grand jury report in the USA state of Pennsylvania concluded that the US Catholic Church systematically hushed up sex abuses committed by 301 priests over a period of 70 years.

In an embarrassing coincidence, Bishop Bransfield's cousin, Father Brian Bransfield, was among those meeting the Pope. Protocols for dealing with abuse in the church vary wildly from country to country.

Also Thursday, Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston, W.Va., and ordered an investigation into accusations that Bransfield sexually harassed adults.

A leaked report commissioned by the church alleged that one in 20 Catholic clergy in Germany...