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Sex abuse: Pope to meet Thursday with U.S. bishops

Sex abuse: Pope to meet Thursday with U.S. bishops

It required accusations of abuse to be reported to police and the permanent removal from ministry of any priest found to have abused a minor.

As the moment the USA cardinals arrived for their meeting with Francis in the Vatican's apostolic palace, the Holy See announced the Pope had ordered Archbishop of Baltimore, William E. Lori, to investigate harassment allegations against West Virginia Bishop Michael Bransfield.

The Pope held an emergency summit with a delegation of American bishops at the Vatican to consider a response to a USA grand jury report in July that 1,000 children had been molested in Pennsylvania since the 1940s. Also involved are two officials from the conference, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez and Monsignor Brian Bransfield.

The conclusions of a study commissioned by the Church in Germany were leaked to the press on Wednesday.

In response to questions, she said there was no word yet on the expected release of the "possible and necessary clarifications" the council said were being formulated by the Holy See given the current debate on abuse in the church.

Wuerl has faced calls to resign, including from a local deacon at St. Matthew's Cathedral and many other D.C. -area Catholics over his handling of sex abuse allegations by Catholic clergy in Pennsylvania when Wuerl was bishop there almost 30 years ago.

The archbishop of Baltimore, William E. Lori, has been appointed to fill in on an interim basis in West Virginia - serving in both roles - until a permanent bishop is chosen.

Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, private secretary to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, on Tuesday described sexual abuse against minors by clergy as the Church's "own 9/11".

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Mr Di Nardo said he wants Francis to authorise a Vatican investigation into Theodore McCarrick, who was removed as cardinal in July after he was accused of groping a teenager.

In August, a grand jury report in the USA state of Pennsylvania concluded that the US Catholic Church systematically hushed up sex abuses committed by 301 priests over a period of 70 years.

The head of the U.S. bishops conference, Houston Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, requested an audience with the pope last month after the revelation that McCarrick had risen through the ranks even though sexual misconduct allegations against him were an open secret.

Her parents "decided not to pursue the matter" and left the country, and the priest was allowed to resume his duties in 2004 after an internal investigation, the statement said.

Vigano, a former Vatican envoy to Washington, also called on the Pope to step down.

"My primary concern is for the care and support of the priests and people of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston at this hard time", Lori said in a statement.

Pope Francis is summoning the presidents of every bishops conference around the world for a February summit to discuss preventing clergy sex abuse and protecting children - evidence he realizes the scandal is global and inaction threatens to undermine his legacy.

The head of the Catholic church said the devil "had it in" for bishops "in order to scandalise the people".


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