As Pope Francis sat down at the Vatican Thursday with a delegation of USA bishops and cardinals to discuss how to gain ground in the sexual abuse crisis engulfing the Catholic Church, fresh scandals emerged on both sides of the Atlantic. Cardinal DiNardo requested the meeting with Pope Francis in order to discuss the allegations in Viganò's letter which, he said in a statement, deserve answers.
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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.
The decision to investigate Bishop Michael Bransfield comes amid an abuse crisis in the US Church that is now focusing on misconduct by bishops.
Francis is due to meet on Thursday with US Catholic Church leaders who want to discuss the fallout from the report as well as a scandal involving a former American cardinal and demands from an archbishop that the pontiff step down. McCarrick, who has denied the accusations about the altar boy and not responded to the allegations about the seminarians, resigned from his position in July. 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.
The Vatican said Wednesday the heads of the national Catholic bishops' conferences would meet with Francis from February 21 to 24.
In a statement from the German bishops" conference, Bishop Ackermann said: "I regret that the study, which has remained confidential so far, and is the result of four years of research on the subject of "sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests, deacons and male religious in the area of the German bishops' conference' was published today".
As the moment the U.S. cardinals arrived for their meeting with Francis in the Vatican's apostolic palace, the Holy See announced the Pope had ordered Archbishop of Baltimore, William E. Lori, to investigate harassment allegations against West Virginia Bishop Michael Bransfield. The Vatican announced his resignation while his cousin, Rev. Brian Bransfield, was in that same meeting with the pope. The mass aims to "give voice to the pain and suffering of the survivors of clergy sexual abuse and failures in episcopal oversight, while also recognizing the pain and wound of the whole Church", he wrote.
He added: "Elitism, clericalism fosters every form of abuse".
However, the wave of sex abuse claims involving Catholic Church clergy in the USA continues.