As part of a meeting this week of a Papal advisory board, the Vatican announced that the Pope has called a meeting of the leaders of the world’s Episcopal Conferences to be held at the Vatican on Feb. 21-24, 2019, and to discuss “the issue of sexual abuse of minors.”
If your timeframe is measured in thousands of years, maybe waiting six months for a meeting doesn’t seem like an eternity.
Reports on this meeting conflict on the topic for discussion. Some articles say that the meeting will discuss only the sexual abuse of minors. Other articles say that the question of abuse of adults will be included.
For example, under a headline of “Pope to meet with Bishops to discuss protection of minors,” an article by Christopher Wells states:
Pope Francis has convened the Presidents of all the Episcopal Conferences of the whole world for a meeting in Rome to discuss the prevention of abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.
The message is mixed. Those skeptical of Pope Francis may be inclined to see this as a pat on the head rather than a real step forward.
Edward Pentin, writing at the National Catholic Register, reports on a visit to the Vatican by the President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston. Cardinal DiNardo has been requesting a meeting with Pope Francis since before the publication of Carlo Maria Viganò’s testimony on August 25.
According to Pentin, DiNardo will be accompanied by Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, Archbishop José Gómez of Los Angeles, and Monsignor Brian Bransfield.
In a perhaps poorly chosen photo released by Vatican Media, Zenit reports on the meeting:
— Zenit English (@zenitenglish) September 13, 2018
Smiles all around — not a swell image to project if you want the folks in the pews to think that you’re serious about the abuse crisis. Did Archbishop Gómez get to ask the Pope to suppress public activity by retired Cardinal Roger Mahoney?
Accused in the Viganò testimony, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, DC, will ask Pope Francis to accept his already-tendered resignation.
Independently, the Pope has accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, who has been accused of abuse:
Archbishop Christophe Pierre, nuncio to the United States, announced Bishop Bransfield’s retirement on September 13 and the appointment of Archbishop Lori as apostolic administrator of Wheeling-Charleston.
Archbishop Lori leads the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Bishop Bransfield has reached the canonical age of retirement, 75.
Pope Francis appoints Archbishop Lori as apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston https://t.co/y87TqtFbab
— ArchdioceseBaltimore (@archbalt) September 13, 2018