The Vatican asked the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to delay any votes on proposed steps to combat the sexual abuse scandal rocking the church.
The president opened the conference’s national meeting on Monday with a stunner of an announcement, declaring it will delay any such votes for at least several months.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, of Galveston-Houston, confirmed the delay was requested by the Vatican, which asked that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to hold off until after the global meeting on sex abuse in February.
In July, Pope Francis removed U.S.Cardinal Theodore McCarrick after church investigators deemed an allegation that he groped a teenage altar boy in the 1970s to be credible. In August, a grand jury report in Pennsylvania claimed decades of abuses and cover-ups spanning six dioceses, alleging more than 1,000 children had been abused over the years by roughly 300 priests.
However, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano recently accused Pope Francis and other high-ranking Vatican officials of a “cover-up” involving accusations of sexual misconduct against the Roman Catholic Church.
In the letter, Archbishop Vigano called on Pope Francis to resign, saying he and others were weaving a “conspiracy of silence” around former Cardinal McCarrick, whom the Pope forced to resign.
McCarrick, 89, retired as archbishop of Washington in 2006. Vigano alleges that former Pope Benedict XVI knew of the accusations against him and had McCarrick placed restrictions on him in both 2009 or 2010.
How are Americans reacting? Well, it depends on their faith, according to the latest Gallup poll.
Overall, Americans’s views of Pope Francis have soured somewhat, with 53% now holding a favorable opinion of the pontiff, down from 66% in August. However, U.S. Roman Catholics held firm, with 79% still holding a favorable opinion, essentially unchanged from last month (78%).
According to another recent poll, nearly 3 out of 4 (73%) American adults think the Roman Catholic Church has a serious problem with sexual predators. Rasmussen Reports finds only 15% think the media is overhyping the church’s sex problems.
When the sexual abuse scandal was uncovered in 2002, the image of John Paul II fell from 86% in 1998 to 61% in 2002. Still, he’s more popular than Pope Benedict XVI. In 2010, Gallup’s final reading on Benedict found 40% of Americans viewed him favorably and 35% unfavorably.