The U.S. delegation of clerics who met with Pope Francis on Thursday mentioned nothing afterward about Theodore McCarrick or the Vatican’s promised “clarifications” in its president’s statement.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and leader of the four-member delegation, stated prior to the papal audience that he intended to request a full investigation of the allegations against McCarrick and the circumstances thereof as well as answers to Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano’s accusations that Francis and other high-ranking officials helped to cover for McCarrick, according to The Associated Press. The USCCB issued a statement after the delegation’s meeting with Francis, characterizing the exchange as “lengthy, fruitful, and good,” but leaving out any mention of McCarrick or Vigano. (RELATED: Pope Francis Orders Investigation Of West Virginia Bishop Accused Of Sexual Abuse After Accepting His Resignation)
“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,” the statement reads.
“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.”
DiNardo stated Aug. 16 that the USCCB would seek “an investigation into the questions surrounding McCarrick; an opening of new and confidential channels for reporting complaints against bishops; and advocacy for more effective resolution of future complaints,” according to Crux Now.
DiNardo reiterated the urgency of those goals after Vigano released his 11-page letter detailing cover-up allegations against Francis and 32 other high-ranking church officials. The USCCB president said he was particularly concerned about how McCarrick could have been allowed to become a bishop, given the fact that allegations against him were known prior to his rise in rank.
DiNardo said Vigano’s letter “brings particular focus and urgency to this examination” and that “the questions raised deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence.”
The Vatican promised “clarifications” to follow the delegation’s meeting with Francis, but has yet to issue any new statements concerning an investigation of the circumstances surrounding McCarrick’s alleged abuses or answers to Vigano’s accusations, according to The AP.
Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, vice president of the USCCB, and Msgr. J. Brian Bransfield, general secretary of the conference, accompanied DiNardo on the delegation, according to Crux Now.
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