Published: Wed, September 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Pope Francis summons bishops for meeting on protecting minors

Pope Francis summons bishops for meeting on protecting minors

When Wuerl spoke with Francis at the end of August, the pope told him to consult his priests about what he should do - and Wuerl did so at an annual Labor Day picnic for clergy, which he referred to in his letter on Tuesday. Many have suggested Wuerl must have known about the allegations, and intentionally did not act.

All bishops are required to submit their resignation at the age of 75, but the Pope does not have to accept it.

In a letter, Wuerl wrote - at issue is how to begin effectively a new level of healing to survivors who have suffered so much and the faithful.

Pope Francis has summoned the presidents of Catholic bishops conferences worldwide to the Vatican in February to discuss how to stop clergy from sexually abusing children.

The planned Vatican meeting is believed to be unprecedented, indicating that the church recognises that clergy sex abuse is a global problem - potentially even in non-Western countries where the church maintains strong social power and cases have not come to light in great number.

Francis' key cardinal advisers announced plans for the summit early next year the day before the pope meets with USA church leaders embroiled in their own credibility crisis from the latest accusations in the Catholic Church's decades-long sex abuse scandal.

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"The Holy Father Francis, after hearing the Council of Cardinals, has made a decision to convene a meeting with the presidents of the Episcopal Conferences of the Catholic Church on the theme of the 'protection of minors, '" the Vatican press office said in a statement.

Scandal-scarred Archbishop Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington - facing calls for his resignation over his handling of clerical sexual abuse - says he will talk with Pope Francis about possibly stepping down, The Washington Post reported.

The USCCB Executive Committee, Cardinal DiNardo had said, met recently and established three goals: "an investigation into the questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick; an opening of new and confidential channels for reporting complaints against bishops; and advocacy for more effective resolution of future complaints".

DiNardo has also said recent claims of cover-up of McCarrick's misconduct - including against top Vatican officials and the pope himself - deserve answers.

Also involved are two officials from the conference, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez and Monsignor Brian Bransfield.

In other eyebrow-raising comments on Tuesday, a top aide to both Francis and Benedict said the sex abuse scandal was such a game-changing catastrophe for the church that it amounted to its "own 9/11".

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