For more than three decades, the Catholic Church has been rocked by sex abuse scandals spanning the globe.
And for decades, the church has been accused of protecting itself rather than the victims of child sexual abuse.
Here are some major scandals and revelations involving the Catholic Church and allegations of abuse.
A Pennsylvania grand jury released a report in August 2018 detailing decades of alleged sexual abuses by priests and cover-ups by bishops.
The report said internal documents from six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania – some held in a secret archive to which only the bishop had a key – showed that more than 300 “predator priests” have been credibly accused of sexually abusing more than 1,000 child victims.
Pope Francis issued an unusually blunt letter six days after the report’s release, acknowledging “with shame and repentance” the Catholic Church’s failure to act, writing “we showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them.”
The letter directly referred to the Pennsylvania report, which “detailed the experiences of at least 1,000 survivors, victims of sexual abuse, the abuse of power and of conscience at the hands of priests over a period of approximately 70 years.”
Looking ahead, the pontiff said the church was working on a “zero tolerance” policy on abuse and coverups. He added, “If, in the past, the response was one of omission, today we want solidarity, in the deepest and most challenging sense, to become our way of forging present and future history.”
In July 2018, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, 88, who once led the Archdiocese of Washington and was a force in American politics, after a decades-old allegation of sexual abuse of a teenage altar boy forced the Vatican to remove him from public ministry.
A month earlier, McCarrick issued a statement saying he was shocked by the allegations: “While I have absolutely no recollection of this reported abuse, and believe in my innocence, I am sorry for the pain the person who brought the charges has gone through, as well as for the scandal such charges cause our people.”
McCarrick was also accused three times of sexual misconduct with adults “decades ago” while he served as a bishop in Metuchen and Newark, New Jersey, the current bishops of those cities said in June. Two of those allegations resulted in settlements, the bishops said.
The Vatican said Pope Francis had ordered McCarrick to “a life of prayer and penance until the accusations made against him are examined in a regular canonical trial.”
Pope Francis called the country’s bishops to Rome in May after he received a 2,300-page report detailing sexual abuses by priests in Chile.