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Wheeling-Charleston Bishop Resigns As Vatican OKs Investigation Into Sexual Harassment Allegations

Wheeling-Charleston Bishop Resigns As Vatican OKs Investigation Into Sexual Harassment Allegations

A leaked copy of a report found Wednesday contains Germany's Catholic Church admitting to at least 3,766 instances of child abuse between 1946 and 2014, according to Die Zeit and Spiegel Online.

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Monsignor Michael Bransfield as bishop of Wheeling-Charleston in the US state of West Virginia, a Vatican statement said.

The calling of the February meeting comes in the wake of fresh sexual abuse scandals in a number of countries, including the United States, Chile and Australia.

The US church was also rocked by a grand jury report that said 300 priests in Pennsylvania had abused more than 1,000 children since the 1940s.

The Vatican announced Tuesday that Francis will meet this week with two other USA cardinals, one of whom has said he wants a full-scale Vatican investigation of Archbishop McCarrick.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano sparked a firestorm last month when he claimed Francis had personally ignored abuse allegations against prominent USA cardinal Theodore McCarrick for 5 years.

The Vatican and US church officials announced the investigation on Thursday as the pope was meeting US Catholic church leaders to discuss a scandal that has shaken his papacy. Many cases were not brought to justice, and sometimes abuse suspects - primarily priests - were moved to other dioceses without new congregations being informed about the pastor's past, they said.

The announcement of Bransfield's resignation came while the pope was meeting Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston, and Archbishop José Horacio Gómez of Los Angeles.

Mr Di Nardo said he wants Francis to authorise a Vatican investigation into Theodore McCarrick, who was removed as cardinal in July after he was accused of groping a teenager. Two dioceses also had announced allegations of inappropriate contact between Archbishop McCarrick and seminarians, resulting in settlements totaling more than $100,000. He said the devil "tries to uncover the sins, so they are visible in order to scandalize the people".

Hours after Vigano made the statement to conservative Catholic news media, Francis had told journalists he "won't say a word" about the sensational claims. The priest is now the pastor at St. John Fisher Catholic Church in Richmond while also serving as the archdiocese's episcopal vicar for Hispanics.

Christian blogger, speaker and writer for The Daily Wire, Matt Walsh joined Glenn on today's episode of "The Glenn Beck Radio Program", to react to the pope's controversial speech and weigh in on the far-reaching sexual abuse scandals within the church.

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