sexual abuse

For centuries, the words "Vatican" and "intrigue" have gone hand in hand. But the Holy See's centuries-old code of secrecy ensured that scandals and conspiracies usually remained hidden behind the tall and sturdy Renaissance walls of the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, unbeknownst to the faithful masses around the world.

Now, in the era of social media and the 24-hour news cycle, mudslinging between rival church factions is being waged out in the open.

A group of Catholics empowered to advise U.S. bishops on their handling of clergy sex abuse is accusing the bishops of "a loss of moral leadership" and recommending that lay Catholics like themselves should henceforth be responsible for investigating clergy misconduct.

Right inside the doorway of Courey and Andy Leer's house just outside of Pittsburgh, you're met with a golden cross, some palms, "and then we have a little Mary holy water holder," said Courey, 31. "We got some holy water for our wedding but we never like replenish it. It just hangs out there."

A former Vatican ambassador to the United States alleges in a 7,000 word letter that top Catholic Church officials, including Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, were long aware of sexual misconduct allegations against former D.C. archbishop Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

Last month, McCarrick resigned amid claims he sexually abused seminarians.

Pope Francis landed in Dublin on Saturday, his visit eclipsed by the latest sex abuse scandal that touched at least a thousand people in Pennsylvania and opened wounds in Ireland.

As he disembarked from the plane, the pope was greeted by Ireland's Deputy Premier and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney, his wife and their three daughters. One of the girls then presented Pope Francis with a bouquet of flowers.

Nearly two weeks after the release of a Pennsylvania grand jury's investigation into clergy sexual abuse, the report's ramifications on the Roman Catholic Church are being felt far beyond state lines.

Editor's Note: This story contains graphic descriptions that some readers may find disturbing.

Nearly a week after a Pennsylvania grand jury released its roughly 900-page report on sexual abuse by clergy, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church has penned a letter condemning the alleged misconduct and pledging repentance.

Sixteen years after an investigation in Boston highlighted the dimensions of the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic priesthood, the financial and reputational cost to the Catholic church continues to grow.

A two-year grand jury investigation in Pennsylvania resulted in what the state's attorney general, Josh Shapiro, called "the largest, most comprehensive report into child sex abuse in the Catholic Church ever produced in the United States."

A prominent Vatican diplomat and the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., has resigned from the College of Cardinals over sexual abuse allegations. Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick presented his resignation on Friday evening.

In January, Pope Francis traveled to South America to spread peace and hope. Many cheered him on, but he also wound up causing emotional pain when he dismissed accusations that Chilean clergy had covered up sexual abuse.

In the weeks that followed, the Vatican's leading sex crimes investigator looked into the allegations, and the pope did an about-face: He acknowledged making mistakes.

Now, Francis has been apologizing and listening to some of those he offended most.

A magistrate in Australia has ordered Cardinal George Pell, one of the Vatican's senior-most officials, to stand trial on sexual abuse charges involving allegations from multiple individuals dating back decades.

Pell is the highest-ranking Vatican official to be charged in the church's long-standing sex abuse scandal.

Updated at 3:10 a.m. ET

Pope Francis has acknowledged "serious mistakes" in his handling of Chile's sex abuse scandal and summoned the country's bishops to an emergency meeting in Rome to discuss the matter.

Francis blamed a lack of "truthful and balanced information" for misjudging the situation concerning Bishop Juan Barros, who he appointed to the small diocese of Osorno in 2015 despite allegations that he had helped cover up abuse by his mentor, the Rev. Fernando Karadima.

Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood megaproducer accused of sexual harassment and assault dating back decades, has been slapped with a civil rights lawsuit by New York's attorney general. Eric Schneiderman announced the suit Sunday, saying his office has sued not only Weinstein, but also his brother, Robert, and The Weinstein Company.

When Pope Francis visited Chile earlier this month, he lashed out at victims of sexual abuse and accused them of "calumny" regarding a bishop who is suspected of covering up abuse they endured by a pedophile priest.

The pope said there was "not a shred of evidence" against Chilean Bishop Juan Barros. "The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros," he said, "I'll speak."

Now the pope is sending a top envoy on a mission to Chile to look into survivors' claims.

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