American bishop resigns as pope holds meeting on abuse scandal

Pope Francis

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Baltimore Bishop William Lori said in a statement that Francis had instructed him to "conduct an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment of adults against Bishop Bransfield".

Pope Francis removed McCarrick as a cardinal in July, but the Vatican's former USA ambassador, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, has called for the pope step down in the wake of his failure to act against McCarrick until recently. Cardinal DiNardo requested the meeting with Pope Francis in order to discuss the allegations in Viganò's letter which, he said in a statement, deserve answers.

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.

"He listened very deeply from the heart", said a statement released after the meeting September 13. Since the release, an archbishop claimed Pope Francis had helped hide an American cardinal's alleged abuse.

But, the case has continued to fuel criticism directed at the pope after a statement written by a high-ranking Italian Vatican official called for the Pope's resignation over the mishandling of the McCarrick case.

"The Holy Father Francis, after hearing the Council of Cardinals, has made a decision to convene a meeting with the presidents of the Episcopal Conferences of the Catholic Church on the theme of the 'protection of minors, '" the Vatican press office said in a statement.

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

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Pope Francis is summoning senior Catholic bishops from around the world to a February summit to discuss the church's burgeoning clergy sex abuse scandal involving attacks on minors and years of cover-ups of allegations against parish priests.

As sexual abuse scandals continue to plague the Catholic church, Pope Francis has now taken an unprecedented step towards doing something about it.

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 US state of Pennsylvania. J. Brian Bransfield, general secretary of the conference, Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the conference, and Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, vice president of the conference.

Viganò, a former Vatican ambassador to the United States, said he told the Pope about the allegations five years ago, but the pontiff did nothing about it. Viganò subsequently urged the Pope to resign.

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. He had said he wanted to discuss further action to deal with and stop cases of clerical sexual abuse in the USA, including how to make bishops more accountable for their actions or punishable for their mismanagement.

McCarrick is accused of molesting an altar boy and having seminary students sleep in his bed with him.

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