U.S. bishops meet with Pope Francis, tell him sexual abuse has ‘lacerated’ the church

 Pope Francis meets with officials representing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at the Vatican Sept. 13. Pictured from left are Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, vice president of the conference, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of conference, Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, and Msgr. J. Brian Bransfield, general secretary of the conference. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)   Pope Francis meets with officials representing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at the Vatican Sept. 13. Pictured from left are Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, vice president of the conference, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of conference, Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, and Msgr. J. Brian Bransfield, general secretary of the conference. (CNS photo/Vatican Media) 

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The leaders of the U.S. bishops' conference said they shared with Pope Francis how the church in the United States has been "lacerated by the evil of sexual abuse."

"He listened very deeply from the heart," said a statement released after the meeting Sept. 13.

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Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, met the pope at the Vatican along with Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, vice president of the USCCB, and Msgr. J. Brian Bransfield, general secretary of the conference. 

The USCCB statement described the encounter as "a lengthy, fruitful and good exchange," but did not enter into details about what was discussed or whether any concrete measures were taken or promised.

"We look forward to actively continuing our discernment together, identifying the most effective next steps," the statement said.

"We look forward to actively continuing our discernment together, identifying the most effective next steps," the statement said.

Cardinal DiNardo originally announced that he was requesting a meeting with Pope Francis last Aug. 16. 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. Two dioceses also had announced allegations of inappropriate contact between Archbishop McCarrick and seminarians, resulting in settlements totaling more than $100,000.

In his Aug. 16 statement, Cardinal DiNardo said that the USCCB Executive Committee had 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."

The U.S. bishops specifically requested the Vatican to conduct an apostolic visitation into questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick. Opening a new process for reporting complaints against bishops and the more effective resolution of such complaints also would require the support and involvement of the Vatican, since only the pope has the authority to discipline or remove bishops.

Following allegations by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano that Pope Benedict XVI had imposed sanctions on Archbishop McCarrick and that those sanctions had been ignored by Pope Francis, Cardinal DiNardo issued another statement Aug. 27 reiterating his call "for a prompt and thorough examination into how the grave moral failings of a brother bishop could have been tolerated for so long."

Archbishop Vigano's statement "brings particular focus and urgency to this examination," the cardinal's statement said. "The questions raised deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence."

 

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J Cosgrove
2 months ago

This may be the Holy Spirit working to refocus the Church.

Damage control must come first. By that I don't mean white washing what the guilty priests etc have done. Then a complete fix so it doesn't happen again.

They must focus on what the Church is about, not just getting rid of the bad apples.

James Haraldson
2 months ago

That won't happen until Pope Phony resigns, which will never happen given his dedication to the ethos of the sex revolution, including the offspring of the sex revolution: abortion.

Tim O'Leary
2 months ago

J - I believe the Holy Spirit is always working, sometimes strengthening a weak soul and at other times chastizing a proud soul. He let's humanity have their freedom, but his promises will never be reversed, including protecting the Church from teaching error. That is how our doctrine has withstood the secular avalanche of sexual libertinism. Even if many Catholics, clergy and laity failed to follow the true doctrine, the doctrine is preserved. This problem is certainly one of discipline, and many have failed to follow the doctrine. So, they are being chastised by the Spirit.

Trent Shannon
2 months ago

The word youre looking for is "repair" - (damage control was the problem behind the cover up)

Keep faith there are changes already in play now going forward. For me, repair would be any living abusers, facilitators being made to present themselves for criminal charges in the countries they were committed.

Call it "rendering unto Caesar" - inside a church or not, crimes were committed on the soil of sovereign nations.

It would go a long way for survivors and say a lot to a lot of people who, even without religion, look towards the Vatican as a "disinterested" (non-affiliated) party in the world

Dolores del Castillo
2 months ago

Dolores del Castillo
I am disappointed about the way the US bishops are addressing the sexual abuse issue. This is not the first time that a scandal of this nature has surfaced, this is just the last and due to the way news are spread through social media etc the most talked about. I am 76 years old. practicing Catholic and have been living in the US for the last 50 years. The culture of the Catholic Church for many hundreds of years has been to cover up any issues specially the sexual abuse issues erroneously believing it will harm the Church. The issues with Cardinal Mc Carrick and others was going on way before Pope Francis, and there was cover up. The fact that the emphasis is on having Pope Francis resign does not make sense. The letter from Cardinal Vigano has to be investigated. It seems to me that he knew and also kept it secret. The issue the Church is facing is more difficult and include an honest discussion including the bishops, cardinals etc., putting the Church that Jesus built on the rock that was Peter as the priority. You are shepperds of the flock, of all of us. Praying for you.

Mike Theman
2 months ago

The Church has been attacked for its position on same-sex attraction and homosexual sodomy. Meanwhile, it has recruited countless numbers of priests with same-sex attraction who seek to engage in homosexual sodomy with male minors and adult seminarians and other priests.

If the Church just practiced what it preaches and kept men with deep-seated same-sex attraction out of the priesthood, it wouldn't be in this predicament and thousands of boys and men would have been spared. Homosexual attraction is not just a problem for the Church, and if the Church would lead the way instead of being led by modernist culture promoting homosexuality as good, it could strengthen the Church and strengthen the United States. The homosexual experiment has failed (again).

Jeffrey Smith
2 months ago

Stop blaming gay people for this tragedy.

J Brookbank
2 months ago

I agree,Jeffrey

Jorge Luis Luaces Rabaza
2 months ago

Notice who is smiling in the above photo: DiNardo.....totally clueless, totally out of his league.
To think he is the president of the US conference. No wonder police arrested one of his priests right under his leadership for abusing victims in 2002. DiNardo should follow the footsteps of the bishop of Wheeling, West Virginia Michael Bransfield: resign

John Placette
2 months ago

.

Michael Barberi
2 months ago

The recent news reports told us that Cardinal DiNardo will be meeting with Pope Francis to get his approval about a proposed plan to formulate a national lay-lead impartial committee to investigate this sexual abuse crisis (e.g., the Grand Jury Report, the entire McCormick scandal and Vigano's letter). Cardinal DiNardo was also expected to ask Pope Francis for Apostolic participation in this lay-lead investigative committee. After all, only the Pope can discipline, sanction or defrock a Bishop and Cardinal. Without Vatican participation and cooperation, the USCCB investigation will be a joke.

This silence is deafening and extremely disappointing. I hope we will hear some positive news soon.

Dennis Hayes
2 months ago

these fellows need a reality sandwich.

Will Niermeyer
2 months ago

A story in my newspaper today revealed the in the dioceses of Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo a priest who he was told about in terms of his sex abusiveness to boys was hidden by this Cardinal and the guy was reassigned to another parish. The priest now faces 20 years in prison. Why didn't DiNardo come forward with this and safe other boys from being subjects of this priests sex abusiveness.

sheila gray
2 months ago

Please help me get the info to the right people that Survivors need a Healing Center NOW, at least one, for God’s sake. I have contacted as many people as I know. I have been crying from the rooftops that we need a Healing Center, Why not here, in the US? New York, California, Missouri. It does not matter. Who should I contact. I believe healing from clergy abuse is about learning to unconditional the conditioned mind. Also, the only sane way forward for the CC is to learn again how to preach the Faith without conditioning, without brainwashing. Jesus did not brainwash anyone. “Love and you can do none harm.” Please help me help others. Thank You.

Henry Brown
2 months ago

Can we get a timeline from America concerning McCarrick.

When were accusations first made against him ?
When did he starting having "nephews" that he visited ?
[The man who is now in his early 60's say McCarrick took advantage
of him in the late 1960's.
When do we have official letters of concern/complaint filed ?
What did the Vatican know and when did it know it ?

Did John Paul II, Benedict XVI, Francis ever see these documents ?

Why was McCarrick allowed to retire to a Seminary ?

Likewise for other Bishops who misused their power/authority.

America do your job
and provide the information in a clear and concise manner.

Crystal Watson
2 months ago

The photo of Francis and his bishops/cardinals reminds me of those chummy PR photos of Trump and his cabinet. Not comforting.

Vincent Gaglione
2 months ago

Besides the obvious, the embarrassment and shame concomitant with the exposure of so many instances of clergy sexual abuse, both towards children and adults, I am most disturbed by the loss of moral and teaching authority of bishops, clergy and religious in the current climate. My Irish grandmother used to comment cynically on clergy as moral leaders who tell you, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Apparently, she was more right than even she probably understood. Not that it isn’t inconsistent with the appropriate perception of the Catholic Church, all of us are sinners in need of reconciliation and redemption throughout our lives.

One of the problems has been the arrogance of power and lack of humility exercised by bishops, clergy, and religious in Catholic institutions in the USA over the past 100 years. Some of us, at one or another time or even throughout our lives, mistook that arrogance as the prerogative of clergy and religious. That perception has gone out the window with the salaciousness of recent, and as it turns out, former events. They are no different than the rest of us!

There are many good bishops, clergy and religious. They have been smeared, unfortunately, with the public perceptions. Some of them, however, have retreated into silence as their laity and congregations must deal daily in the public secular sphere with news stories that are an embarrassment and a shame to believing Catholics. In so doing they further damage their moral and teaching authority. They must witness their shame and embarrassment as well. They must express their own sense of bewilderment that the rest of us feel. They must be genuine and empathetic to their laity. Otherwise, like so many have done already, even more will abandon their faith. That will become an even greater scandal than the revelation of the sins that we now learn about.

charles hoffman
2 months ago

What's lacerated the Church is the continuing organized efforts to ignore and cover-up the problems.

It's not a new problem; in fact, the problem has existed for decades and decades.
And the continuing cover-up has sent a clear message to molesters: "Don't worry; we'll cover your tracks".

Anyone who committed any act, anyone who covered up any act, and anyone who knew of anyone covering up any act should be thrown out of any position of authority, lose any status, and be banned from participating in church affairs for life

Start new or carry the cancer that can always come back,

And, for God's sakes - let priests live normal lives with wives

John Chuchman
2 months ago

Pope Francis
has outlined his vision for a church
with everyone listening to one another,
learning from one another
and taking responsibility for each other.

I feel that those of us in the reform movement
have spent far too many years
trying to communicate with a deaf hierarchy
trying convince them
of the necessity of reform and restructuring.

I am convinced
beyond any doubt
that trying to change them
is fruitless.

Institutional church itself will not be reformed.
To be reformed it would need to completely reinvent itself.
It cannot do that.
Its own theological foundations do not permit it.
The bishops and pope can hold many councils, commissions, etc.,
to reform itself
but without abandoning its foundations it is a hopeless task.

Consequently, our strategy must be
to no longer to put energy into reforming the institutional church,
which is beyond repair,
but rather to focus on
re-founding the Church
in the spirit of the early followers
of Jesus.

The Vatican is not the Church.

By virtue of our baptism,
WE are the Church
and have the responsibility
to enrich the future leadership and management of our church.

But how?

What IS within our power to do
is to join or start small faith communities
by whatever name they are called in various parts of the world:
Small Faith Groups,
Intentional Eucharistic Communities (IECs),
Base Christian Communities (CEBs),
Small Christian Communities (SCCs),
House Churches,
Home Churches.

The time has come for us to re-found our Church.
We may be powerless to reform the institutional church
but we are able to change how we function within Church.

We must all stop funding
a corrupt self-serving hierarchy
using our donations
to defend and perpetuate
its unholy ways.

Whether you are an active reformer
or a pewsitter
who has been sitting there Sunday after Sunday,
let us each do our part
to be the Church
we had hoped the institutional Church would become
one that is inclusive, forgiving, and welcoming
of ALL people.

John Chuchman
2 months ago

Pope Francis
has outlined his vision for a church
with everyone listening to one another,
learning from one another
and taking responsibility for each other.

I feel that those of us in the reform movement
have spent far too many years
trying to communicate with a deaf hierarchy
trying convince them
of the necessity of reform and restructuring.

I am convinced
beyond any doubt
that trying to change them
is fruitless.

Institutional church itself will not be reformed.
To be reformed it would need to completely reinvent itself.
It cannot do that.
Its own theological foundations do not permit it.
The bishops and pope can hold many councils, commissions, etc.,
to reform itself
but without abandoning its foundations it is a hopeless task.

Consequently, our strategy must be
to no longer to put energy into reforming the institutional church,
which is beyond repair,
but rather to focus on
re-founding the Church
in the spirit of the early followers
of Jesus.

The Vatican is not the Church.

By virtue of our baptism,
WE are the Church
and have the responsibility
to enrich the future leadership and management of our church.

But how?

What IS within our power to do
is to join or start small faith communities
by whatever name they are called in various parts of the world:
Small Faith Groups,
Intentional Eucharistic Communities (IECs),
Base Christian Communities (CEBs),
Small Christian Communities (SCCs),
House Churches,
Home Churches.

The time has come for us to re-found our Church.
We may be powerless to reform the institutional church
but we are able to change how we function within Church.

We must all stop funding
a corrupt self-serving hierarchy
using our donations
to defend and perpetuate
its unholy ways.

Whether you are an active reformer
or a pewsitter
who has been sitting there Sunday after Sunday,
let us each do our part
to be the Church
we had hoped the institutional Church would become
one that is inclusive, forgiving, and welcoming
of ALL people.

Mister Mckee
2 months ago

Any and all meetings with DiNardo even in the room are a SHAM and must be treated as such by all sentient Catholics. His immediate demission from the USCCB and the Houston archdiocese are the only signs of good faith that Francis now has to offer his church. Di Nardo is concrete proof of the problem and unless he is removed, then the hierarchy have lost all credibility.
https://apnews.com/7eddd913931a49dca0eeddf9e47c6c5b
By their FRUITS ye shall know them!

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