Yet another cardinal criticized over handling of abuse reports — just as he meets to discuss issue with pope

Add another top U.S. Catholic leader to the list of those under scrutiny for his handling of clergy sex abuse reports.

This time, the leader making headlines is Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, spiritual head of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and its 1.7 million parishioners.

If DiNardo’s name sounds familiar, it might be because he also serves as head of the U.S. Conference of Bishops.

And today, he was in Rome for a meeting with the pope.

The details from CNN:

Rome (CNN) 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."

But that meeting wasn’t the only news involving DiNardo.

The Associated Press reported in advance of the meeting that DiNardo himself has been accused of ignoring abuse:

HOUSTON -- As U.S. Catholic leaders head to the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis about a growing church abuse crisis, the cardinal leading the delegation has been accused by two people of not doing enough to stop a priest who was arrested this week on sexual abuse charges.

The two people told The Associated Press that they reported the priest and met with Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. One of them says she was promised in a meeting with DiNardo that the priest would be removed from any contact with children, only to discover that the priest remained in active ministry at another parish 70 miles away.

The priest, Manuel LaRosa-Lopez, was arrested Tuesday by police in Conroe, Texas. Both people who spoke to the AP are cooperating with police.

The story made the top of the front page of today’s Houston Chronicle, which added its own reporting to the AP story.

The Chronicle noted:

DiNardo climbed through the Catholic ranks after being ordained in Pittsburgh. He later moved to Houston and in 2007 became the first cardinal from a southern U.S. diocese, the Chronicle reported at the time. In addition to leading the area’s 1.7 million Catholics, he serves as head of the U.S. Conference of Bishops.

He said recently that the handling of the McCarrick case represented a “grievous moral failure within the church” and called for conclusive answers in the matter, as well as a “plan of action” for dealing with such allegations in the future.

But the male accuser, now 34, said he was not satisfied with DiNardo’s response to his accusations.

The Houston paper and other news sources quoted prepared statements by the archdiocese defending the church’s handling of the reports.

What’s missing? That would be DiNardo himself responding to the claims that he failed to properly investigate the reports. At this point, I have not seen him quoted directly in response to the claims.

Stay tuned.

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