Cardinal Wuerl to discuss possible resignation with Pope Francis

Sen. Cory Booker D-N.J. left and Sen. Kamala Harris D-Calif. confer before questioning Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as he testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the third day of his confirmation hear

The Vatican said on Tuesday the delegation for the pope's U.S. visit would be headed by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the president of the USA conference of Catholic bishops, and would also include Francis's top sexual abuse adviser, Cardinal Sean O'Malley.

As the clerical sexual abuse scandal rages on, implicating even Pope Francis, the group of 9 cardinals which the pontiff has delegated to work with him on reform has expressed its "full solidarity" with the Pope.

After weeks of silence and mounting pressure from the laity, the Vatican now says it will issue a response to allegations made by Archbishop Maria Viganò, accusing Pope Francis and several high-ranking prelates of participating in a coverup for the sexually abusive then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

The Pope's refusal to immediately respond to Mr Vigano's claims has frustrated many Catholics in the United States who were already outraged that McCarrick's penchant for seminarians and young priests was apparently an open secret in some Catholic circles.

DiNardo has accused church leaders of covering up McCarrick's behavior for years.

Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick from the US arrives for a meeting at the Synod Hall in the Vatican in March 2013. Some of the cardinals who make up the council were named in Archbishop Carlo Viganò's report, including Cardinals Pietro Parolin, Sean O'Malley, and Rodriguez Maradiaga.

Specifically, Vigano accused Francis of rehabilitating McCarrick from canonical sanctions imposed on him by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009 or 2010.

Francis has refused to comment directly about Vigano's claims, but almost every day over the past two weeks his homily at morning Mass has seemed somewhat related to the scandal.

"It is true, we are all sinners, we bishops", he said, but the Great Accuser "seeks to unveil sins so that they may be seen, to scandalize the people".

The grand jury's report focused on not just the sexual abuse - ranging from fondling to rape - committed by priests, but the role of the church's bishops, including Cardinal Wuerl when he was bishop of Pittsburgh, in moving miscreants to other parishes, in silencing or buying off victims and families, and in not reporting criminal acts to authorities.

Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, a top aide to both retired Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, told a book presentation Tuesday that he by no means was comparing the scandal to the almost 3,000 people killed in the US on September 11, 2001.

Cardinal Wuerl, as is customary, presented his resignation from the College of Cardinals upon his 75th birthday three years ago.



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