During the course of that month, American Catholic leaders went to Poe Francis to ask him a number of very difficult questions. Led by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, initially asked for the meeting so they could discuss the allegations that were brought against Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington. One letter suggested that the pope had known about the allegations against McCarrick, but allowed him to move forward into a position of power. DiNardo was hoping to get some answers, but no concrete decisions were made or shared with the public. Just before the meeting, DiNardo was accused of covering up abuse when he led the Galveston-Houston archdiocese.
A Letter from Catholic Women
A women’s open letter demanded answers from the pope and reached nearly 50,000 signatures. It demanded answers from the pope about what he knew of the sex abuse crisis and when he knew. The letter’s authors included lay Catholic women from across the United States claiming to be the wives and mothers of the church. While the letter professed a love for the church, it also showed just how frustrated these women were that the pope was not as forthcoming and transparent as he should be.
A 2019 Bishops’ Conference
The Pope also summoned bishops from around the world to a meeting in February 2019, hoping to clear up some of the problems within the church. The stated focus of this meeting will be how to protect minors. The meeting will give bishops the training they need to identify abuse, intervene, and listen to victims.
A number of cardinals resigned, too. Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, asked the pope to accept his resignation, as did Phillip Wilson and Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, globalizing the crisis once more.
Public Reports of Sex Abuse
Finally, the reports out of Pennsylvania and Germany were made public. In Germany, it was found that more than 3,600 children were sexually abused by at least 1,670 clergy members over the course of seven decades. In Pennsylvania, allegations were brought against 300 priests that were said to involve more than 1,000 children, all of which were covered up by officials within the church.
Many believe that the church’s increasingly serious headlines believe it could spell real problems for the institution in the future. The pope’s favorability rating has been plummeting, dropping from 83 percent to just 63%.