Pope calls unprecedented meeting of top officials over sex abuse scandal

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò is either an honest moral crusader or a score-settling careerist depending on whom you talk

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò is either an honest moral crusader or a score-settling careerist depending on whom you talk toAP

"I intend, in the very near future, to go to Rome to meet with our Holy Father about the resignation I presented almost three years ago", Wuerl wrote, "as we face new revelations of the extent of the horror of the clergy abuse of children and the failures in episcopal oversight".

The archbishop of Washington plans to meet with the pope in Rome to discuss the possibility of resigning as he confronts accusations that he mismanaged and concealed alleged sex abuse within the church, he wrote to local priests.

Cardinal Wuerl did not specifically say in his letter to the Pope that he would ask him to accept his resignation, which Wuerl submitted to the Vatican 3 years ago when he turned 75.

Francis' key cardinal advisers announced the decision Wednesday, a day before Francis meets with US church leaders who have been discredited anew by the latest accusations in the Catholic Church's decades-long sex abuse and coverup scandal.

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But he acknowledged Catholics' questions about their bishops' ability to lead them to healing amid a massive sex-abuse crisis and said he will discuss his resignation.

The accusations shook the U.S. Church, following a damning Grand Jury report in the state of Pennsylvania that found that 301 priests in the state had sexually abused minors over the past 70 years.

"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", Wuerl wrote, the Post reported.

The September session of the council was the first since news broke in late June about an investigation finding credible sexual abuse allegations against then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, since the release in mid-August of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on how six dioceses handled abuse allegations and since the publication in late August of a document by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, former nuncio to the United States, alleging that Pope Francis knew of Cardinal McCarrick's sexual misconduct yet allowed him to continue in active ministry.

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The Vatican announced Tuesday that Francis will meet this week with two other US cardinals, one of whom has said he wants a full-scale Vatican investigation of Archbishop McCarrick. Also involved are two officials from the conference, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez and Monsignor Brian Bransfield.

The Vatican said Tuesday the delegation would be headed by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and also include Francis' top sex abuse adviser, Cardinal Sean O'Malley.

The Vatican has known since at least 2000 that McCarrick would invite seminarians to his New Jersey beach house and into his bed.

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