Pope meets top US bishops to discuss abuses by priests

Today's meeting is a lead-up to a summit with the presidents of the 113 Bishops' Conferences of the world on 21-24 February 2019.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Today's meeting between Pope Francis and top US bishops – including Card Daniel DiNardo, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Card Sean Patrick O'Malley, archbishop of Boston – starts a new cycle of papal action against abuses by priests (picture: meeting with US bishops during the US papal visit of 23 September 2015).

The audience with US bishops appears to be connected to developments following the Pennsylvania grand jury report that lists hundreds of clerymen involved in abuses and accuses the leaders of six dioceses of covering up allegations and interfering in investigations. Recently, the New York prosecutor has launched an investigation into the same events.

At the same time, the controversy caused Mgr Viganò’s dossier on Card Theodore McCarrick, the archbishop emeritus of Washingto who was forced to resign from the College of Cardinals, seems to have no end.

The pontiff, who in his Letter to the People of God of 20 August expressed “sorrow and shame" for the abuses, noted that "no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient”. In light of this, he wants to begin the discussion with bishops’ conferences of the world.

The decision was taken at the meeting of the Council of Cardinal Advisers, who heard Card O'Malley, OFM Cap, speak about the work of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, whose 9th Plenary Assembly just ended.

The Pope convened the presidents of the 113 Bishops' Conferences of the world (plus three councils of Churches, eight assemblies of ordinaries, six patriarchal synods and six major archiepiscopal synods of Eastern rite) to a meeting to discuss the prevention of abuses of minors and vulnerable adults.

The meeting is set to take place at the Vatican from 21 to 24 February 2019. (FP)