By Daniel Burke and Delia Gallagher, CNN
Rome: Struggling to contain one of the most serious crises of his papacy, Pope Francis met Thursday in Rome with leaders of the American Catholic Church, the epicenter of a rapidly escalating clergy sex abuse scandal.
“We shared with Pope Francis our situation in the United States — how the Body of Christ is lacerated by the evil of sexual abuse. He listened very deeply from the heart. It was a lengthy, fruitful, and good exchange,” said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“As we departed the audience, we prayed the Angelus together for God’s mercy and strength as we work to heal the wounds. We look forward to actively continuing our discernment together identifying the most effective next steps.”
Also attending the meeting were Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors; Archbishop Jose Gomez, vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; and Monsignor Brian Bransfield, the conference’s general secretary.