Pope Francis to Meet with US, World Catholic Leaders

Casey GreeneSep 13, 2018

The meeting of more than 100 Roman Catholic officials is believed to be the first of its kind and a recognition that church leaders think the sex abuse scandal is an worldwide problem.

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 announcement followed a three-day session of Pope Francis' Council of Cardinals, commonly called the "C9", which he created in 2013 to advise him regarding the governance and reform of the Roman Curia.

Pope Francis summoned the presidents of the world's bishops' conferences Wednesday to a summit on preventing clergy sex abuse and protecting children, responding to the greatest crisis of his papacy with the realization that Vatican inaction on the growing global scandal now threatens his legacy.

Controversy continues to swirl around the Pope and other top prelates after Viganò's August 25 testimony implicated Francis and others as covering for McCarrick.

Pope Francis addressed the recent sex abuse scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church in some controversial remarks Tuesday in his homily.

The credibility of the U.S. church leadership is in tatters over the McCarrick scandal and recent revelations in the Pennsylvania grand jury report, which found that about 300 priests had abused more than 1,000 children since the 1940s. They are to discuss the church's sexual abuse scandal in the country and the cover-up of years of abuse claims against hundreds of parish priests.

Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, who retired as Archbishop of Santiago in 2010, is alleged to have participated in cover-ups of clerical sexual abuse in Chile over a period of years.

The archbishop of of Washington, D.C., Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who has faced calls to step down over his handling of sexual abuse cases while serving as bishop of Pittsburgh, said in letter to priests that he will soon go to Rome to meet with Pope Francis to discuss his possible resignation. In 2015, the Vatican said it would set up a tribunal for judging bishops accused of negligence or coverups; it was never created.

"There's absolutely no reason to think any good will come of such a meeting", said David Clohessy, a former director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests who noted that the work of whistleblowers, investigators and journalists was a better way to expose wrongdoing and end coverups.

The unprecedented summit is scheduled to take place February 21-24 and comes on the heels of serious questions about Pope Francis's handling of the sexual abuse committed by Catholic bishops and priests most recently in the United States and Chile.

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