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Catholic Church

The inside of a Catholic Church sits empty.
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The Catholic Church has been under public scrutiny since 2002, when the Boston Globe published stories showing how leadership covered up a series of sexual abuse cases. Almost two decades have passed, but the church hasn’t been able to shake its tarnished reputation.

The Catholic archdiocese of Washington, D.C., has released a list of 31 clergymen who have been "credibly accused" of abusing children over a decades-long period — a move that comes just days after Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Archbishop Cardinal Donald Wuerl for allegedly covering up sexual abuse in the Church.

As clerical sex abuse scandals buffet the Catholic Church, a three-week assembly of bishops is under way in Rome on how to make the Church relevant for young people. But the assembly, known as a synod, will likely be dominated by what many analysts call Catholicism's worst crisis since the reformation.

Roughly 250 priests, bishops, cardinals and some younger laypersons are participating in the synod.

In the opening mass, pope Francis urged them "to dream and to hope."

WUSF Public Media

Attorney General Pam Bondi on Thursday said reports of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Florida prompted her to launch a statewide investigation and led to a website where people can anonymously report allegations.

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The Saint Leo University Polling Institute recently released a survey conducted in early August asking for opinions on a wide range of topics regarding the Catholic Church and social issues.

One topic that stood out was how Pope Francis and the Catholic Church has handled cases of sexual abuse.

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.

A new bishop will lead The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saint Petersburg, which serves Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties.

On Monday, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Gregory Parkes to the Diocese.

He succeeds Bishop Robert Lynch, who has headed the St. Petersburg Diocese since 1996. Lynch is 75, the age at which Catholic bishops are required to turn in their resignation to the pope.

Tony Gentile / Associated Press

When Sister Anne Dougherty of the Franciscan Center in Tampa received a call from Congresswoman Kathy Castor inviting her to see Pope Francis in Washington DC, she almost had to pinch herself. She thought she was dreaming. 

Yoselis Ramos / WUSF

The sun shone like a beacon through the windows of the St. Andrew United Church of Christ in Sarasota. It started off like a regular Catholic mass but instead of men wearing the deacon slashes as they walked down the aisle it was women.