Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Pope Francis orders investigation of W.Va. bishop on sexual harassment charges

Pope Francis orders investigation of W.Va. bishop on sexual harassment charges

The pope did meet Thursday with Cardinal Daniel DiNardo and Cardinal Sean O'Malley, the pope's top adviser on clergy sex abuse.

The video clip showed the 75-year-old prelate giving a speech during which he drew attention to the recent sex abuse scandals involving the church, notably in the USA state of Pennsylvania.

On the eve of this meeting at the Vatican, Di Nardo was added to the list of high Catholic clerics in the USA who may have failed to prevent a priest suspected of abuse from having contact with minors.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) commented Thursday on the sexual abuse and cover-up scandal that is rocking the Catholic church. The Vatican has since said he will make a "clarifying" statement.

The study was carried out by a team of investigators from three German universities-Mannheim, Heidelberg, and Gießen-under the auspices of the German Bishops' Conference.

The crisis has drawn in the Pope following accusations by a retired Vatican official that Francis rehabilitated the former Archbishop of Washington, Theodore McCarrick, after McCarrick was sanctioned for sexually abusive behaviour with seminarians.

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Monsignor Michael Bransfield as bishop of Wheeling-Charleston in the US state of West Virginia, a Vatican statement said. Since the release, an archbishop claimed Pope Francis had helped hide an American cardinal's alleged abuse.

While DiNardo offered no specifics about how they plan to address the abuse, he said they prayed with the pope "for God's mercy and strength as we work to heal the wounds".

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Referring to the McCarrick case, DiNardo called for a "prompt and thorough examination. into how the grave moral failings of a brother bishop could have been tolerated for so long and proven no impediment to his advancement". Two people told the Associated Press they went to DiNardo to tell him about an abusive priest in his Texas archdiocese but that DiNardo didn't act.

Pope Francis meets U.S. Catholic Church leaders and Monsignor Brian Bransfield, General Secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, during a private audience at the Vatican, Sept.13, 2018.

In July, McCarrick became the first cardinal to resign in nearly 100 years after American church officials said allegations that he had sexually abused a 16-year-old boy almost 50 years ago were credible and substantiated.

Archbishop Vigano's statement "brings particular focus and urgency to this examination", the cardinal's statement said.

The Archbishop of Washington has said he will travel to Rome to ask the Pope to consider accepting his resignation.

On Wednesday, the pontiff called for a meeting of all the heads of Catholic bishops' conferences worldwide at the Vatican next February to discuss the issue of the "protection of minors".

More cases are coming to light.

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