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Pope Francis in Ireland. Photo: Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images

Pope Francis met privately with victims of clerical abuse during his first visit to Ireland this weekend, begging for forgiveness for the Church's sins amid massive outcry over its mounting scandals, reports the AP.

Driving the news: In step with his Ireland visit, Archbishop Carlo Vigano, a former Vatican ambassador to the U.S., has accused Francis of knowing about allegations of sexual abuse against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in 2013 and has called on him to resign, according to the National Catholic Reporter.

  • Vigano claims that Pope Benedict XVI had leveled unannounced sanctions against McCarrick in 2009 or 2010, which prevented him from celebrating Mass publicly or traveling. Vigano says he told Francis about the allegations in 2013, three months after he was elected pope, but that Francis ignored them and made McCarrick "free from all constraints."
  • Worth noting: Vigano provided no evidence that there was a formal reversal of the sanctions and has himself been accused of covering up sexual abuse allegations, per NCR.

The big picture: Separate from the sexual abuse scandals roiling the Church across the rest of the globe, Ireland has a history of forced adoptions pushed by the Church that saw newborns taken away from unwed mothers. Francis' visit to Ireland was intended to coincide with the World Meeting of Families, a global gathering of the Catholic Church, but it has been largely overshadowed by demands that he address the Church's worldwide issues.

"None of us can fail to be moved by the stories of young people who suffered abuse, were robbed of their innocence or taken away from their mothers, abandoned and left scarred by painful memories. ... This open wound challenges us to be firm and decisive in the pursuit of truth and justice."
— Pope Francis' sermon in Knock, Ireland on Sunday

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

NRA declares bankruptcy, says it will reincorporate in Texas

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA) speaks during CPAC in 2016. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The National Rifle Association said Friday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will seek to reincorporate in Texas, calling New York, where it is currently registered, a "toxic political environment."

The big picture: The move comes just months after New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden: "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution

Joe Biden. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden promised to invoke the Defense Production Act to increase vaccine manufacturing, as he outlined a five-point plan to administer 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations in the first months of his presidency.

Why it matters: With the Center for Disease Control and Prevention warning of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus, Biden is trying to establish how he’ll approach the pandemic differently than President Trump.