Pope Francis to Receive Cardinal DiNardo at the Vatican on Thursday

The Holy Father agrees to meet the president of the U.S. bishops to discuss the McCarrick scandal and the issue of bishops involved in sexual abuse.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo at the Vatican in 2015
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo at the Vatican in 2015 (photo: Bohumil Petrik/CNA)

Pope Francis will receive Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the United States bishops’ conference, at the Vatican this coming Thursday.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston and Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles will also be present at the private audience.

In a statement released this evening in response to journalists’ questions, Holy See Press Office Director Greg Burke said:

"This Thursday, 13 September 2018, the Holy Father will receive in the apostolic palace His Eminence Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States of America, together with His Eminence Cardinal Seán Patrick O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. 

With them will be H.E. Mons. José Horacio Gómez, Archbishop of Los Angeles, vice president of the same episcopal conference; and Monsignor Brian Bransfield, Secretary General. 

The audience will take place at noon.”

Cardinal DiNardo has been seeking an audience since August, and said in an Aug. 27 statement he was eager to have the Holy Father’s support “for our plan of action” on handling abuse cases involving bishops.

He said that plan includes “more detailed proposals” to “seek out these answers, make reporting of abuse and misconduct by bishops easier, and improve procedures for resolving complaints against bishops.” 

The cardinal had been pursuing a meeting with the Pope ahead of publication of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s testimony, with the intent of discussing the USCCB’s proposed plan which includes a Vatican investigation.

In the Aug. 27 press release, Cardinal DiNardo also specifically referenced Archbishop Vigano’s assertions. The archbishop’s testimony, he said, "brings particular focus and urgency to this examination. The questions raised deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence. Without those answers, innocent men may be tainted by false accusation and the guilty may be left to repeat sins of the past."