Pope calls meeting of key bishops on sexual abuse: Vatican

Pope calls meeting of key bishops on sexual abuse: Vatican

In an explosive 11-page letter, Archbishop Viganò, the former apostolic nuncio to the U.S., 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. Archbishop Jose Gomez, vice president of the bishops' conference, and Monsignor Brian Bransfield, the conference secretary, will also attend, according to the Vatican.

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

The Vatican announced Tuesday that Francis, who had met in late August with Washington Cardinal Wuerl - embattled by reports he moved abusive priests between parishes while bishop of Pittsburgh and knew about his predecessor McCarrick - would meet with USCCB President Cardinal Daniel DiNardo.

Mr DiNardo has said recent accusations of top Vatican officials, including the current pope, covering up for McCarrick deserve answers.

Three members of the C9 were not present during the September meetings: Cardinal George Pell, who has been in Australia since summer 2017 undergoing a trial for abuse allegations, and Cardinals Francisco Javier Errázuriz and Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya.

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In his report, Viganò attributed a number of important papal appointments in the United States-including those of Cardinals Blase Cupich in Chicago and Cardinal Joseph Tobin in Newark-to McCarrick's influence over Pope Francis.

On Tuesday, he drew Satan into the fray, suggesting that the devil was behind Vigano's revelations.

"In these times, it seems like the "Great Accuser" [a reference to Satan] has been unchained and is attacking bishops", Pope Francis said. "True, we are all sinners, we bishops", he added. Victims' groups have long said that the Vatican needs to better address how to deal with prelates who cover up abuse, and how to ensure that abuse victims have a clear way to report what happens to them. He admitted to sex abuse survivors that he had been "part of the problem" in that instance.

The McCarrick scandal and a Pennsylvania grand jury's allegations that some 300 priests had abused more than 1,000 children since the 1940s have left the credibility of USA church leaders in tatters. We will present this plan to the full body of bishops in our November meeting. Benedict is credited with having turned around the Vatican on the issue of sex abuse while he was cardinal, forcing bishops around the world to send all their cases to him for review because they weren't sanctioning abusers.

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