U.S. Catholic Church approaches a crossroad

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By Alex Johnson

The Catholic abuse scandal in the United States is approaching a critical moment as the Vatican prepares for a worldwide abuse summit with a prominent American former cardinal under Vatican investigation and another American cardinal under pressure for changing his story about what he knew about the case.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, whose resignation as archbishop of Washington, D.C., was accepted last year, apologized Tuesday for what he called a “lapse of memory.” He acknowledged that he had known about an allegation of abuse against his predecessor, former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, despite several denials over the past year.

The letter comes as U.S. Catholics’ trust in the church is plummeting, according to a new Gallup poll, and as the Vatican is preparing to convene a summit of national church leaders from around the world to discuss the international abuse crisis next month.

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