Pope to meet U.S. Church leaders after archbishop's accusations: Vatican

Lamar Ellis
September 12, 2018

The decision is up to the Pope, but Wuerl hinted it is likely his resignation will be accepted, closing his letter by anticipating "a new beginning" for the church.

Pope Francis formed the Council of Cardinals, often referred to as the C9, shortly after his election in 2013 to advise him on the reform of the Roman Curia and on church governance generally.

The archbishop of Washington plans to meet with the pope in Rome to discuss the possibility of resigning as he confronts accusations that he mismanaged and concealed alleged sex abuse within the church, he wrote to local priests. Benedict is credited with having turned around the Vatican on the issue of sex abuse while he was cardinal, forcing bishops around the world to send all their cases to him for review because they weren't sanctioning abusers.

Wuerl did not say in his letter to priests whether he will ask Francis to accept his resignation, which he submitted three years ago at the customary retirement age of 75.

In the note, Cardinal Wuerl acknowledged that many Catholics in the archdiocese "have questions about their bishop's ability to provide the necessary leadership".

Pope Francis will meet on Thursday with U.S. Catholic Church leaders who want to discuss the fallout from a scandal involving a former American cardinal and demands from an archbishop that the pontiff step down.

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Francis' advisers announced the first-of-its-kind summit Wednesday, a day before he meets with United States bishops and cardinals over recent bombshell revelations of sexual abuse and allegations of cover-ups at the church's highest echelons. A Vatican statement said the meeting also will include Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez and Monsignor Brian Bransfield.

The Vatican announced Tuesday that Francis will meet this week with two other USA cardinals, one of whom has said he wants a full-scale Vatican investigation of Archbishop McCarrick.

That outrage has been compounded by revelations of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, detailing the abuse of more than 1,000 children by 300 priests over 70 years, while bishops covered up for them.

"Francis, who has put the Vatican back on the geopolitical stage, knows that when he needs a savvy back channel operator he can turn to McCarrick", he said.

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.

The Vatican has known since at least 2000 that McCarrick would invite seminarians to his New Jersey beach house and into his bed.

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