IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul Haring
By Cindy Wooden
ROME (CNS) — The president of the U.S. bishops’ conference
welcomed Pope Francis’ pledge to fight attempts to cover up cases of sexual
abuse and to stop offering special treatment to bishops who have committed or
covered up abuse.
“On behalf of my brother bishops in the United States,
I welcome the statement of Oct. 6 from the Holy See which outlines additional
steps Pope Francis is taking to ensure the faithful are protected from the evil
of sexual assault,” Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo said in a statement
released Oct. 7 in Rome.
The cardinal, president of the USCCB, is in Rome for the
Synod of Bishops. Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, conference vice
president, also is in Rome for the synod, and the two U.S. leaders were
expected to meet privately with Pope Francis Oct. 8 as questions continue over
the handling of years of allegations of sexual misconduct by former Cardinal
Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington.
In a statement Oct. 6, the Vatican said Pope Francis had
ordered a thorough review of the archives of Vatican offices to study how the
allegations were handled.
“The Holy See is conscious that, from the examination
of the facts and of the circumstances, it may emerge that choices were taken
that would not be consonant with a contemporary approach to such issues.
However, as Pope Francis has said: ‘We will follow the path of truth wherever
it may lead,'” the Vatican statement said.
Cardinal DiNardo, who earlier had requested a full
investigation, said, “The truth will ensure the terrible sins of the past
are not repeated. The courage of
abuse survivors who first brought the horrific truth of sexual abuse to light
must continue to be matched by our courage as pastors to respond in
The U.S. cardinal’s statement was published the same day
Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, responded to
allegations by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, former nuncio to the United
States, that Pope Francis knew about and ignored the allegations against
Cardinal Ouellet called Archbishop Vigano’s accusations a
“political” ploy that had wounded the unity of the church.
“Out of respect for the victims and given the need for
justice, the inquiry currently underway in the United States and in the Roman
Curia should provide a comprehensive and critical study of the procedures and
the circumstances of this painful case in order to prevent something like it
from ever happening in the future,” Cardinal Ouellet said.
Cardinal DiNardo said he and all the U.S. bishops “offer
our prayers and solidarity for the Holy Father. We urge all in the church,
particularly the bishops, to reaffirm our communion with Pope Francis who is
the visible guarantor of the communion of the Catholic Church.”
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