VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is calling the presidents of every
Catholic bishops’ conference in the world to Rome Feb. 21-24 to discuss
the prevention of the abuse of minors and vulnerable adults. In
addition, the pope will meet with officers from the U.S. Conference of
Catholic Bishops on Sept. 13 at the Vatican.
The Vatican made the
announcement about the global meeting on Sept. 12 after the pope and
members of his international Council of Cardinals wrapped up three days
After hearing from his council, the pope “decided to
convoke a meeting with the presidents of the bishops’ conferences of the
Catholic Church on the theme of the protection of minors,” the council
stated in a communique.
The members “extensively reflected … with
the Holy Father on the matters of abuse” during deliberations Sept.
10-12. Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston, president of the Pontifical
Commission for the Protection of Minors, also updated those present with
the commission’s efforts.
Three of the nine council members were
absent for the meetings: Cardinal George Pell, 77, who currently is on
trial in Australia on sex abuse charges; Cardinal Francisco Javier
Errazuriz Ossa, 85, retired archbishop of Santiago, Chile, who is facing
questioning about his handling of abuse allegations; and Cardinal
Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, Congo, who turns 79 in early
The six present for the meeting were: Cardinals O’Malley,
74; Pietro Parolin, 63, Vatican secretary of state; Oscar Rodriguez
Maradiaga, 75, of Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Oswald Gracias, 73, of Mumbai,
India; Reinhard Marx, 64, of Munich and Freising, Germany; and Giuseppe
Bertello, 75, president of the commission governing Vatican City State.
papally appointed group of nine cardinals, the so-called C9, has been
tasked with helping advise the pope on the reform of the Vatican’s
organization and Church governance.
Pope Francis was to have met
Sept. 13 with Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, president of the U.S.
Conference of Catholic Bishops, and with Cardinal O’Malley the Vatican
press office announced.
Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles,
vice president of the USCCB, and Msgr. J. Brian Bransfield, general
secretary of the conference, also will participate in the meeting,
according to Greg Burke, director of the Vatican press office.
DiNardo stated Aug. 16 that he was requesting the meeting at the
Vatican following the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on
the mishandling of hundreds of cases of sexual abuse in six dioceses and
after news was released that allegations of child sexual abuse
committed by Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick, the former
cardinal-archbishop of Washington, were found to be credible.
USCCB Executive Committee, Cardinal DiNardo stated, met recently and
established three goals: “an investigation into the questions
surrounding Archbishop McCarrick; an opening of new and confidential
channels for reporting complaints against bishops; and advocacy for more
effective resolution of future complaints.”
Achieving the goals
would involve “consultation with experts, laity and clergy, as well as
the Vatican.,” he wrote. “We will present this plan to the full body of
bishops in our November meeting. In addition, I will travel to Rome to
present these goals and criteria to the Holy See, and to urge further
concrete steps based on them.
“The overarching goal in all of this
is stronger protections against predators in the Church and anyone who
would conceal them, protections that will hold bishops to the highest
standards of transparency and accountability.”
and appropriately to the problem of abuse must be a priority for the
Catholic Church, said Cardinal O’Malley, president of the Vatican’s
Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
in the Church have us all focused on the urgent need for a clear
response on the part of the Church for the sexual abuse of minors” and
vulnerable adults, he told Vatican News Sept. 9. “Bringing the voice of
survivors to leadership of the Church is crucial if people are going to
have an understanding of how important it is for the Church to respond
quickly and correctly anytime a situation of abuse may arise.”
O’Malley told Vatican News that in cases of abuse “if the Church is
unable to respond wholeheartedly and make this a priority, all of our
other activities of evangelization, works of mercy, education are all
going to suffer. This must be the priority that we concentrate on right
According to Cardinal O’Malley, the pontifical commission is
an advisory body for making recommendations to the pope and to develop
and offer guidelines, best practices and formation to Church leaders
throughout the world, including bishops’ conferences, religious orders
and offices in the Roman Curia.
Cdl. Wuerl to meet with pope to discuss resignation
By Mark Zimmermann | Catholic News Service
— Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington told the priests of the
archdiocese that he will meet soon with Pope Francis to request that he
accept the resignation the cardinal submitted three years ago when he
The cardinal wrote that this meeting is one part of a
two-fold response he has concluded is the best way to serve the church
as it moves into the future. The second is to participate in a process
of healing for all those who suffered abuse.
The cardinal made the
comments in a letter sent the evening of Sept. 11 to the priests of the
archdiocese. He recently met and prayed with the clergy to discuss and
discern his leadership.
Cardinal Wuerl said he would meet with the
pope in Rome “so that this archdiocesan Church we all love can move
forward.” He cited a need to “bring healing and a new beginning at the
service of this Church.”
The cardinal submitted his resignation to
Pope Francis Nov. 12, 2015, when he turned 75, as required by canon
law, but the pope has not yet accepted it.
“It was clear that some
decision, sooner rather than later, on my part is an essential aspect,
so that this archdiocesan Church we all love can move forward,” the
cardinal stated in his letter.
Cardinal Wuerl has been under heavy
criticism following the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report
in mid-August that detailed sexual abuse that more than 1,000 survivors
alleged they suffered at the hands of 300 priests and other Church
workers over the past seven decades in six dioceses in that state.
dioceses included Pittsburgh, which was headed by then-Bishop Wuerl
from 1988 until he was named archbishop of Washington in 2006.
an earlier letter to priests, Cardinal Wuerl said that he will celebrate
a Sept. 14 Mass at St. Matthew’s Cathedral to initiate a six-week
“Season of Healing” in the Archdiocese of Washington. The cardinal’s
Sept. 11 letter was shared so that this Mass would not be overshadowed
by questions about his status.