Pope Summons Bishops For Sexual Abuse Summit

Cheryl Sanders
September 12, 2018

Francis's key cardinal advisers announced the decision Wednesday, a day before Francis meets with us church leaders who have been deeply discredited by the latest accusations in the Catholic Church's decades-long sex abuse and coverup scandal.

The credibility of the US church leadership is now in tatters over the McCarrick scandal and recent revelations in the Pennsylvania grand jury report, which found that some 300 priests abused more than 1,000 children since the 1940s - and that a string of bishops in six dioceses covered up for them, including the current archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl.

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.

In July, Francis ordered McCarrick, 88, to observe a lifetime of penance and prayer pending the outcome of a canonical trial into the groping allegation involving a teenage altar boy in the 1970s.


The Vatican has known since 2000 that McCarrick slept with seminarians.

Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick from the USA arrives for a meeting at the Synod Hall in the Vatican in March 2013.

The Vatican has not responded to the allegations by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò but has promised "clarifications".

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


In these times "it seems that the Great Accuser has been unleashed and has it in for the bishops", the pope said. The Archbishop called on the Pope to resign. "He tries to uncover the sins, so they are visible in order to scandalise the people".

Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, a top aide to both retired Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, told a book presentation Tuesday that he by no means was comparing the scandal to the almost 3,000 people killed in the US on September 11, 2001.

The letter comes after an extraordinary meeting held Labor Day weekend at which the cardinal talked with archdiocesan priests about the best way to address the mounting criticism, spurred by the release in August of a bombshell grand jury report outlining clergy abuse in Pennsylvania.

While no one has attacked churches with airplanes full of passengers, Gaenswein said, recent news from the United States "sends a message that is even more awful than the sudden collapse of all the churches of Pennsylvania together with the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington". The former papal ambassador to Washington claimed he was told Francis knew about sanctions placed on McCarrick by Benedict XVI in 2009 or 2010. The cardinal, who is 77, handed the pope his resignation when he turned 75, as is standard practice.


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