Pope summons bishops for February abuse prevention summit

Leroy Wright
September 13, 2018

A Vatican spokesperson said the meeting of the heads of national Catholic bishops conferences would take place February 21-24.

Three of the nine council members were absent for the meetings: Cardinal George Pell, 77, who now is on trial in Australia on sex abuse charges; Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, 85, retired archbishop of Santiago, Chile, who is facing questioning over his handling of abuse allegations; and Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, Congo, who turns 79 in early October.

In a letter to priests in the diocese, Wuerl mentioned a recent meeting with the Pope in Vatican City.

Pope Francis is summoning the presidents of every bishops conference around the world for a February summit to discuss preventing clergy sex abuse and protecting children - evidence he realizes the scandal is global and inaction threatens to undermine his legacy.

A top Vatican official earlier this week acknowledged that some allegations against McCarrick were brought to the Vatican's attention as early as 2000.

The Vatican is preparing to issue a response to an explosive dossier of allegations that Pope Francis covered up Archbishop Theodore McCarrick's sexual abuse of priests and seminarians.

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In an explosive 11-page letter, Archbishop Viganò, the former apostolic nuncio to the USA, accused Pope Francis of lifting sanctions that were placed upon the former D.C. Cardinal McCarrick during Pope Benedict's reign, going so far to making him a close adviser.

Following his prolonged silence on the matter, the pope's advisors announced Monday that he is preparing a statement on Viganò's claims. "He tries to uncover the sins, so they are visible in order to scandalize the people".

The Catholic Church has been hit by a series of child abuse scandals in recent years, with widespread allegations of cover-ups, including against the pope himself.

Wuerl has been repeatedly confronted by protestors including recently during a mass where a man yelled "shame on you" and walked out during the homily. He admitted to sex abuse survivors that he had been "part of the problem" in that instance.

All bishops are required to submit their resignation at the age of 75, but the Pope does not have to accept it. Not long after the report came out, Wuerl's name was removed from Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School in Cranberry Township, Butler County. In a letter to priests on Tuesday, he said he would be returning to Rome soon to discuss his resignation, aware that it's time for new leadership.

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