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Pope Francis summons bishops for summit on clergy sex abuse
15 September 2018, 07:26 | Darnell Patrick
The Vatican said in a statement the pope would meet US church leaders on Thursday
The sex abuse crisis engulfing the Pope has escalated after he was forced to investigate a USA bishopaccused of molestation and a reportsaid that there were thousands of victims of predatory priests in Germany.
Neither the Vatican nor the Archdiocese of Baltimore gave any details of the specific allegations against Bransfield.
Its convening signals awareness at the highest levels of the Catholic Church that clergy sex abuse is a global problem, not restricted to some parts of the world or a few Western countries.
The Catholic Church worldwide is reeling from crises involving sexual abuse of minors, deeply damaging confidence in the Church in the United States, Chile, Australia, Ireland, and India where the scandal has hit hardest, and elsewhere.
The request followed the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on sexual abuse cases in six Pennsylvania dioceses and the announcement of credible allegations of child sexual abuse committed by Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick, the former cardinal-archbishop of Washington.
In an explosive 11-page letter, Archbishop Viganò, the former apostolic nuncio to the U.S., accused Pope Francis of lifting sanctions that were placed upon the former D.C. Cardinal McCarrick during Pope Benedict's reign, going so far to making him a close adviser.
Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano claimed in an 11-page statement Francis lifted unconfirmed Vatican sanctions against the disgraced McCarrick when Benedict XVI was in the papal throne.
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"In these times, it seems like the "Great Accuser" [a reference to Satan] has been unchained and is attacking bishops", Pope Francis said.
The U.S. delegation will be headed by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and includes Francis' top adviser on the clergy abuse issue, Cardinal Sean O'Malley. And the report says that in several instances, church files documenting abuse have been altered or destroyed.
The Pontiff will meet with top officials from the Catholic Church early next year, the Vatican press office confirmed this afternoon.
The Vatican said Francis accepted his resignation yesterday, announcing the decision at the exact moment the USA delegation was arriving at the Apostolic Palace for the meeting. He called the meeting "a lengthy, fruitful, and good exchange". He has repeatedly denied those allegations.
On the eve of the USA audience, Francis announced he was summoning the presidents of bishops conferences around the world to a February summit to discuss prevention measures and protection of minors and vulnerable adults.
Der Spiegel magazine reported on Wednesday that a study commissioned by the German Bishops' Conference had revealed that 1,670 clerics and priests had sexually abused 3,677 minors, mostly males, in Germany over a 70-year period.
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