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After US bishops meet with pope, say they’re looking for “most effective” next steps

POPE FRANCIS
© Piotr Tumidajski - KAI
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"He listened very deeply from the heart. It was a lengthy, fruitful, and good exchange"

The leadership of the US bishops’ conference released a brief statement after today’s meeting with Pope Francis.

The meeting was requested by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and current president of the USCCB, in the wake of the revelations regarding former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and then the “testimony” of former US Nuncio, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò.

Cardinal DiNardo is in Rome just as a priest of his own archdiocese was arrested this week on allegations of abuse.

The statement from the USCCB leadership is brief:

We are grateful to the Holy Father for receiving us in audience. We shared with Pope Francis our situation in the United States — how the Body of Christ is lacerated by the evil of sexual abuse. He listened very deeply from the heart. It was a lengthy, fruitful, and good exchange.

As we departed the audience, we prayed the Angelus together for God’s mercy and strength as we work to heal the wounds. We look forward to actively continuing our discernment together identifying the most effective next steps.

Meanwhile, the Holy Father accepted the resignation of a US bishop accused of abuse, and appointed another bishop to look into the situation.

Bishop Michael Bransfield resigned from the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia.

Bransfield just turned 75 on September 8. Though bishops are required to submit their resignation upon reaching this age, the pope doesn’t always accept the resignations right away.

Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop William Lori as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. He will remain Archbishop of Baltimore. The Holy Father has additionally instructed Archbishop Lori to conduct an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment of adults against Bishop Bransfield.

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