Pope meets delegation from the United States Episcopal Conference

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“Thank you so much for receiving us.”

“Holy Father.”

“How are you?”

Congratulations for your 50 years (of priesthood).

“Thanks so much, well... 40.”

“I thought it was 50.”

“Forty. It's so great to see you. Thank you for receiving us.”

This is how the meeting began with leaders from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops with the pope.

Also in attendance was Cardinal Seán O'Malley, head of the Vatican Commission for the Protection of Minors.

There were two sensitive issues discussed. 

First, was the Pennsylvania Attorney General's report on abuse that was published in August. It details that over 70 years more than 300 priests had abused around a thousand children. Some bishops have reflected on their own responsibility, since perhaps they did not correctly respond to complaints by victims. Now, the president of the conference has asked the pope to order an internal investigation to find out how this could have happened.

The other big concern was the report of the former nuncio in Washington, Carlo Maria Viganò, who asked for the pope to resign for supposedly not having taken measures against Theodore McCarrick.

Pope Francis suspended McCarrick from the cardinalate in July when he learned that he had abused minors for decades.

Viganò says everyone knew that the former cardinal had behaved improperly and abused seminarians, and nobody (including himself) did anything.

The letter accuses the Vatican of allowing homosexual networks in the North American Church and some bishops from the country have asked the Vatican to clarify these accusations.

For the moment, the pope has taken an unprecedented step: he has summoned all the presidents from episcopal conferences around the world to a summit in the Vatican to discuss the protection of minors.

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