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Pope Francis says will not respond to allegations of abuse cover-up

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Pope Francis said on Sunday he would not respond to explosive accusations by a former top Vatican official that the pontiff had covered up sexual abuse, saying dismissively that the document containing the allegations “speaks for itself”.

Francis, talking to reporters aboard the plane returning to Rome from Dublin, said he would “not say one word” on the 11-page document, in which the former official says Francis should resign. The pontiff said journalists should read the document carefully and decide for themselves about its credibility.

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The official accused the pope of having known of allegations of sex abuse by a prominent U.S. cardinal for years. The document by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former Vatican ambassador to Washington, was an unprecedented broadside against the pope by a Church insider.

“I read that statement this morning. I read it and I will say sincerely that I must say this, to you (the reporter) and all of you who are interested: read the document carefully and judge it for yourselves,” he said.

“I will not say one word on this. I think the statement speaks for itself and you have sufficient journalistic capacity to reach your own conclusions,” he said.

Vigano gave the bombshell statement to conservative Roman Catholic media outlets during the pope’s visit to Ireland, which was dominated by the Church’s sexual abuse in that country and others around the world.

He accused a long list of current and past Vatican and U.S. Church officials of covering up the case of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the retired archbishop of Washington D.C.

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McCarrick, 88, resigned last month in disgrace and was stripped of his title after allegations that he had abused a minor nearly 50 years ago and also forced adult male seminarians to share his bed.

Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Daniel Wallis


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Donald Trump’s lurch toward fascism is backfiring spectacularly

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

During the 2016 campaign, as Donald Trump railed against "Mexican rapists" and other "criminal aliens," pollsters found that the share of Americans who said that immigrants worked hard and made a positive contribution to our society increased significantly, and noticed a similar decline in the share who said they take citizens' jobs and burden our social safety net. After Trump was elected and began pursuing his Muslim ban, the share of respondents who held a positive view of Islam also increased pretty dramatically. I'm not aware of any polling of the general public about transgender troops serving in the military before Trump decided to discharge them, but Gallup found that 71 percent of respondents opposed his position after he did.

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Judge blocking release of Jeffrey Epstein records has ties to officials linked to Epstein: report

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On Saturday, the Miami Herald reported that a judge who blocked the release of grand jury material in the Jeffrey Epstein child sex abuse case has ties to three officials with a vested interest in the outcome of the lawsuits surrounding the scandal.

"Krista Marx, the Palm Beach chief judge who also heads a panel that polices judicial conduct, has potential conflicts of interest involving three prominent players embroiled in the Epstein sex-trafficking saga: State Attorney Dave Aronberg, who has been sued by the Palm Beach Post to release the grand jury records; Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, whose department’s favored treatment of Epstein while he was in the Palm Beach County jail is part of an ongoing state criminal investigation; and ex-State Attorney Barry Krischer, part of the same investigation in connection with his decision not to prosecute Epstein on child-sex charges," wrote Julie Brown, a reporter who has extensively covered the Epstein case.

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WATCH: Buffalo cops and firefighters cheer officers charged with assault as they leave the courthouse

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According to a report from both CNN and MSNBC, the two Buffalo police officers who were charged with second-degree assault after shoving a 75-year-old anti-police brutality protester to the ground where he sustained head injuries were greeted with applause after they were arraigned on Saturday morning.

MSNBC's Alex Witt noted that both officers were released without having to post bail.

According to ABC News, "Officers Aaron Torglaski and Robert McCabe were charged with second-degree assault during their video arraignments on Saturday and were released on their own recognizance. They both entered no guilty pleas and are expected back in court on July 20."

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