Pope accepts bishop’s resignation, meets with U.S. delegation
by Kiley Crossland
Posted 9/13/18, 12:04 pm
Pope Francis accepted the resignation of West Virginia Bishop Michael Bransfield amid accusations the bishop sexually harassed adults, Vatican officials said Thursday morning. Francis also authorized the diocese’s new temporary administrator, Baltimore Bishop William Lori, to conduct an investigation into the accusations. Lori set up a hotline for potential victims to call and said he would conduct a thorough investigation. Bransfield has denied the accusations.
The announcement came as a four-member delegation of U.S. cardinals and bishops arrived at the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican for a meeting with the pope. The head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Houston Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, requested the papal audience last month amid the growing sex abuse and cover-up scandal in the U.S. Catholic Church. The request followed a Pennsylvania grand jury report on sexual abuse within the church in that state as well as accusations that Vatican officials, including Francis, knew about charges of sexual misconduct against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who once served as archbishop of Washington, D.C. But the ever-growing web of accusations now includes DiNardo: On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that two victims in Houston had accused him of not doing enough to stop a predator priest arrested this week on sexual abuse charges.
After Thursday’s meeting at the Vatican, DiNardo said the group told Francis the U.S. church was “lacerated by the evil of sexual abuse” and prayed for mercy and strength to heal wounds.
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Kiley is a WORLD Digital assistant editor and reports on marriage, family, and sexuality.