Bishop Michael Bransfield resigns; sexual harassment investigation launched

Erika Holt
September 14, 2018

All bishops are required to submit their resignation at the age of 75, but the Pope does not have to accept it. However, a pope is not obliged to accept such a resignation and Pope Francis has essentially kept Cardinal Wuerl in office in Washington ever since.

"I pray and hope that the church gets this right", Ryan emphasized of the situation overall, "I think Cardinal DiNardo who is the head of the USCCB...from what I can see is on the right track and I pray for him as he goes to the Vatican".

DiNardo has said that he wants the pope to approve a full investigation of the McCarrick case, and that reports of a cover-up by the Vatican and the pope himself need to be answered.

The private meeting held in the tiny state's Apostolic Palace included the three top officials from the body that runs the U.S. Catholic Church, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops: Cardinal Daniel Di Nardo, the president, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, deputy president, and Monsignor Brian Bransfield, secretary general.

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 said in a written communique.

AFP journalists saw O'Malley leaving the Vatican, and the Holy See released two photos of the meeting, but no statement.

The head of the United States bishops conference, Houston Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, requested an audience with the pope last month after the revelation that McCarrick had risen through the ranks even though sexual misconduct allegations against him were an open secret.

The Pope has so far refused to respond to these allegations.

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He told priests in his diocese through a letter he would be speaking to the Pope about his future "so that this archdiocesan church we all love can move forward", CNN reported.

A contingent of American bishops is meeting on Thursday with the Pope in Rome, but Wuerl is not among them, according to the Vatican. It is unclear if this was discussed today.

Following a private audience with Pope Francis this morning, DiNardo released a brief statement through the USA bishops' conference.

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

Francis removed McCarrick as a cardinal in July after a USA church investigation found the allegation credible.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the head of all US bishops, pushed for this meeting and wants a Vatican investigation into how disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick rose to the highest levels of the church despite allegations of sexual misconduct.

The meeting of more than 100 Roman Catholic officials is believed to be the first of its kind and a recognition that church leaders think the sex abuse scandal is an global problem.

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