Pope to meet US church leaders over claims

Pope Francis is due to meet US Catholic leaders to discuss accusations he knew about misconduct.
Pope Francis is due to meet US Catholic leaders to discuss accusations he knew about misconduct.

Pope Francis is expected to meet US Catholic Church leaders who want to discuss the fallout from a scandal involving a former American cardinal and an archbishop's demands that the pontiff step down.

President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Cardinal Daniel DiNardo asked for the meeting after Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano last month accused the Pope of knowing for years about sexual misconduct by former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and of doing nothing about it.

The Vatican said in a statement the Pope would meet with DiNardo, Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley of Boston, and two USCCB officials on Thursday.

In his 11-page statement published on August 26, Vigano, the former Vatican ambassador to Washington, launched an unprecedented broadside by a Church insider against the Pope and a long list of Vatican and US Church officials.

DiNardo has said Vigano's accusations "deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence".

The accusations shook the US Church, following a damning grand jury report in the state of Pennsylvania that found 301 priests there had sexually abused minors over the past 70 years.

DiNardo has called for the Vatican to help with an investigation into how McCarrick could have risen steadily through the ranks of the US Church while many people knew that he had engaged for years in sexual misconduct with adult male seminarians.

Australian Associated Press