Pope summons bishops for summit on sex-abuse prevention

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The report cited 301 priests, clergy and lay teachers with credible allegations of child sexual abuse against them.

The Vatican hasn't responded to Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano's allegations against the pope and some two dozen other Vatican and US officials, but has promised "clarifications" that could come after Francis' meeting Thursday with the USA delegation.

The meeting, scheduled for February 21-24, would assemble more than 100 churchmen to represent every bishops' conference.

The planned Vatican meeting is believed to be unprecedented, indicating that the church recognises that clergy sex abuse is a global problem - potentially even in non-Western countries where the church maintains strong social power and cases have not come to light in great number.

Last month, a Pennsylvania grand jury report into sexual abuse in six Pennsylvania dioceses, including Pittsburgh and Greensburg, was released.

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, met the pope at the Vatican along with Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, vice president of the USCCB, and Msgr.

The pope's former apostolic nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, accused the pope of knowing about and ignoring sanctions placed on then-Cardinal McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI due to his sexual misconduct with seminarians.

"The Holy Father Francis, after hearing the Council of Cardinals, has chose to convene a meeting with the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences of the Catholic Church on the theme of "Protection of Minors", the Vatican said.

A week later, a petition urging Pope Francis to remove Cardinal Donald Wuerl from his position as archbishop of Washington, DC had garnered some 80,000 signatures.

The Vatican has known since at least 2000 that the archbishop would habitually invite seminary students to his New Jersey beach house and into his bed. "The questions raised deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence".

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a policy in 2002 that is regarded as the gold standard policy. He is also the oldest member of the C9, at 85 years old.

Garcia Ovejero reiterated the council's last written statement from September 10 in which the members asked Pope Francis for a reflection on "the work, structure and composition of the council itself, also taking into account the advanced age of some of its members".

McCarrick has said that he had "absolutely no recollection" of the alleged abuse of the teenager but has not commented on the other allegations against him.

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