Pope Francis Meets US Church Leaders Over Sex Abuse Scandal

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Pope Francis met with US bishops and cardinals on Thursday to talk about the Vatican´s response to the devastating claims of sexual abuse by priests.

For this discussion, Pope met with the leader of the US Conference of Bishops Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, and Cardinal Sean O´Malley of Boston, who advises the pope on sex abuse issues. DiNardo´s deputy Jose Horacio Gomez and general secretary Brian Bransfield were also present in the meeting.

The US Catholic Church came under the controversy after a report was published on sexual abuse by priests in Pennsylvania followed by the resignation of US Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in July. McCarrick was accused of sexually abusing a teenager in early 1970 when he was working as a priest in New York.

The US Bishops´ Conference, later, issued a statement in which they called this sexual abuse controversy “a recent moral crisis in the American Catholic Church”.

“We look forward to actively continuing our discernment together identifying the most effective next steps.” The statement reads.

the pope also accepted the resignation of US Bishop Michael Bransfield on Thursday. Bransfield’s cousin was also present in the Thursday’s meeting. Pope ordered an investigation into the sexual harassment allegations filed against Bransfield.

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

Cardinal DiNardo said he wanted to give an “action plan” to the pope to facilitate reporting of abuse and misconduct by bishops.

DiNardo demanded a “prompt and thorough examination in McCarrick case.

Police on Tuesday arrested a priest in DiNardo´s Texas diocese after he was accused of abusing a male high school student between 1998 and 2001.

A diocesan statement also mentioned allegations on the priest, Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, who abused a 16-year-old girl in 2001.

Parents of that girl decided not to pursue the case and left the country. The priest get back to his duties in 2004 after an internal investigation, the statement said.

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