The pope came under scrutiny after his former apostolic nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, accused him of knowing about and ignoring sanctions placed on then-Cardinal McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI due to his sexual misconduct with seminarians.
"We are grateful to the Holy Father for receiving us in audience". The U.S. bishops said Pope Francis "listened deeply from the heart" in their discussions but they offered few details and no "next steps". An archbishop has accused Francis himself of turning a blind eye to the alleged misdeeds of McCarrick, who has resigned from the College of Cardinals.
Bransfield has faced allegations that he sexually abused teenage boys in the 1970s or early 1980s while a priest in Philadelphia.
The head of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, Cardinal Sean O'Malley, and two USCCB officials will also attend today's meeting.
"11 letter to priests", reads a tweet from the Archdiocese of Washington, "Cardinal Wuerl shared that the best way to serve the Church as it moves into the future will be to meet soon with Pope Francis to request that he accept his resignation that was submitted three years ago".
Pope Francis poses with officials representing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops during a meeting at the Vatican Sept. 13.
The U.S. conference of bishops issued what is considered the gold-standard policy in 2002, requiring accusations of abuse to be reported to police and the permanent removal from ministry of any priest found to have abused a minor. The Vatican announced his resignation while his cousin, Rev. Brian Bransfield, was in that same meeting with the pope.
McCarrick was accused of sexually abusing a teenager while working as a priest in NY in the early 1970s.
Di Nardo has said he wants Francis to authorize a full-fledged Vatican investigation into ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was removed as cardinal in July after a credible accusation that he groped a teenager. The mass aims to "give voice to the pain and suffering of the survivors of clergy sexual abuse and failures in episcopal oversight, while also recognizing the pain and wound of the whole Church", he wrote.
The conclusions of a study commissioned by the Church in Germany were leaked to the press on Wednesday.