ROME — Some of the highest ranking Catholic leaders from the U.S. met with Pope Francis to discuss the priest sex abuse crisis that has rocked the church. The U.S. bishops said Pope Francis “listened deeply from the heart” in their discussions but they offered few details and no “next steps.”
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the head of all U.S. bishops, pushed for this meeting and wants a Vatican investigation into how disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick rose to the highest levels of the church despite allegations of sexual misconduct. But now DiNardo himself is accused of allowing a predator priest to remain in his own archdiocese in Texas.
In a statement, the archdiocese explained that one of the cases against the accused priest was dropped years ago by the minor’s family, and a second case brought last month was taken “seriously” and reported to authorities.
Also on Thursday, Bishop Michael Bransfield of West Virginia resigned amid accusations he had sexually harassed adults. The Vatican announced his resignation while his cousin, Rev. Brian Bransfield, was in that same meeting with the pope.
With cases piling up, “CBS This Morning” co-anchor Norah O’Donnell asked FBI Director Christopher Wray if they’d launch a federal investigation into the church.
“There is no institution that we’re afraid to investigate, period,” Wray said.
The church in Germany is also in crisis. A church report there found more than 1,600 priests and clerics had abused more than 3,600 minors in a nearly 70-year period.