Vatican preparing response to archbishop’s accusations of cover up, cardinals say

Clay Curtis
September 12, 2018

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a Brazilian bishop, the Vatican said Wednesday, after reports of his arrest for allegedly stealing $600,000 of church funds.

"At issue is how to begin effectively to bring a new level of healing to survivors who have personally suffered so much and to the faithful entrusted to our care who have also been wounded by the shame of these awful actions and have questions about their bishop's ability to provide the necessary leadership", Wuerl wrote.

The announcement comes amid growing criticism of the Pope's role in dealing with historical child abuse within the Catholic Church, and a day before he is scheduled to meet Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The report alleges that even though Wuerl argued that parishioners have a right to know if a priest accused of child sex abuse had been reassigned to another parish, he also reassigned priests with histories of abuse, effectively shielding them from accountability.

In the U.S., a grand jury report released last month from Pennsylvania found that more than 300 priests had sexually abused minors in the state over seven decades. That resignation was submitted when Wuerl turned 75, which is the mandatory age for bishops to offer to retire. After the allegation was publicised in June, it emerged that it was apparently an open secret - including at the Vatican - that McCarrick routinely molested seminarians and young priests and harassed them.

In recent weeks, the Catholic Church, and Cardinal Wuerl in particular, have been rocked by a Pennsylvania grand-jury report on the mishandling of sex abuse charges by six of the state's dioceses and by the recent revelations of decades of serial sexual abuse and misconduct by his predecessor, Archbishop Theodore McCarrick.

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Archbishop DiNardo also has said the church must answer accusations by the former Vatican ambassador to the US that Francis and other top Vatican officials have covered up for Archbishop McCarrick since 2000.

During his homily at Mass on Tuesday morning, Pope Francis blamed the devil for the sexual abuse scandal that has shaken the Catholic church to its core.

The Feb. 21-24 meeting at the Vatican is believed to be the first of its kind, according to the Associated Press, and signals a realization at the highest levels of the church that clergy sex abuse is a global problem, as many church leaders have long tried to insist.

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

Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, vice president of the USCCB, and Msgr.

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