West Virginia Bishop Resigns, Pope Orders Probe of Harassment Claims

Leroy Wright
September 13, 2018

The recently released grand jury report into sex abuse within the Catholic Church named Wuerl as someone who had allowed priests to continue their work despite allegations of abuse.

The Vatican announced that Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of West Virginia Bishop Michael Bransfield, and had named a temporary administrator for his Wheeling-Charleston diocese.

The Feb. 21-24 meeting at the Vatican is believed to be the first of its kind, and signals a realization at the highest levels of the church that clergy sex abuse is a global problem and not restricted to the Anglo-Saxon world, as many church leaders have long tried to insist.

Pope Francis has claimed Satan is behind the sex abuse cover-up scandal engulfing the Catholic church.

The pope's former apostolic nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, accused the pope of knowing about and ignoring sanctions placed on then-Cardinal McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI due to his sexual misconduct with seminarians.

The Vatican hasn't responded to the accusations, but presumably the "clarifications" it has promised will come sometime after Francis meets with the top U.S. church leadership this week.

Earlier this morning, news from Rome announced that the Pope will be summoning the presidents of the Catholic Bishops conferences from around the world - top officials of the Catholic Church - to discuss the escalating sexual abuse scandals dominating countless headlines.

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"In these times, it seems like the "Great Accuser" [a reference to Satan] has been unchained and is attacking bishops", Pope Francis said. He said the devil "tries to uncover the sins, so they are visible in order to scandalize the people".

Mr Di Nardo said he wants Francis to authorise a Vatican investigation into Theodore McCarrick, who was removed as cardinal in July after he was accused of groping a teenager.

In Germany, a church study published in a magazine on Wednesday showed 1,670 clerics and priests had sexually abused 3,677 minors, mostly males, in the country between 1946 and 2014.

DiNardo followed up his request for a full-fledged Vatican investigation into the McCarrick affair with a request for answers about allegations that a string of Vatican officials - including Francis - knew of McCarrick's misdeeds since 2000.

The petition asked the pope to remove Wuerl from his position for allegedly covering up the sexual abuse of minors and paying off clergy to lie about their stories while serving as bishop of Pittsburgh.

"He listened very deeply from the heart", said a statement released after the meeting September 13.

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