Leading U.S. Bishop Says Catholic Church Suffers from ‘Crisis of Sexual Morality’

The sexual abuse accusations against a prominent American archbishop reveal a “grievous moral failure” within the Catholic Church, the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops said on Tuesday.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the Catholic bishops conference, also said the conference “will pursue the many questions” about the accusations against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick “to the full extent of its authority.”

“Our Church is suffering from a crisis of sexual morality,” DiNardo said. “The way forward must involve learning from past sins.”

DiNardo’s statement comes as the Catholic Church, including Pope Francis, is facing a quickly escalating sexual abuse scandal that has ensnared top church leaders on several continents.

On Saturday, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of McCarrick, 88, from the College of Cardinals, one of the most powerful bodies in the Catholic Church.

On Monday, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Australian Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide, the highest-ranking Catholic official ever to be convicted of covering up sex abuse. Another Australian church leader, Cardinal George Pell, is on trial for sexual abuse charges from decades ago.

On Wednesday, Bishop Ronald Gainer of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, released the names of 71 priests, deacons and seminarians who had been accused of sexually abusing minors since the 1940s. Gainer has also ordered his diocese to remove the names of bishops who failed to protect children from sexual abuse from places of honor on church property, including buildings and rooms.

“The decision to remove names of bishops and clerics may prove to be controversial, but as a bishop, I strongly believe that leaders of the Diocese must hold themselves to a higher standard, and must yield honorary symbols in the interest of healing,” Gainer said in a statement.

In May, every bishop in Chile offered his resignation to Pope Francis after a three-day emergency summit at the Vatican to discuss Chile’s sex abuse scandal. Five of the resignations have been accepted, according to the Vatican.

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SOURCE: Daniel Burke