Pope Summons Bishops For Sexual Abuse Summit

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano says Vatican officials covered up a cardinal’s misconduct

Patrick Semansky Associated Press File 2015 Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano says Vatican officials covered up a cardinal’s misconduct

Pope Francis will meet leaders of the US Catholic Church at the Vatican today, after a high profile accusation that the pontiff covered up sexual abuse allegations against an American cardinal.

Viganò stated in his bombshell letter in August that the pope did "not take into account the sanctions that Pope Benedict had imposed on" McCarrick and made him "his trusted counselor" who advised the appointment of many bishops in the United States, including Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago and Joseph Tobin of Newark.

Many have called for Wuerl's resignation, including Catholic teachers who have protested outside his services, amid allegations he tried to hide claims child sex abuse.

Francis has so far refused to respond to the allegations.

Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick from the US arrives for a meeting at the Synod Hall in the Vatican in March 2013.

In July, McCarrick became the first cardinal to resign in nearly 100 years after American church officials said allegations that he had sexually abused a 16-year-old boy almost 50 years ago were credible and substantiated.

The attorneys general of Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey and New Mexico are investigating sex abuse by Catholic priests in their states.

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Last month, the Vatican expressed "shame and sorrow" over the sexual abuse of at least 1,000 children by more than 300 Catholic priests in Pennsylvania.

The outrage has also been directed at Francis and the Vatican and has fueled conservative criticism of Francis' pontificate.

A Vatican spokesman says the meeting at the Apostolic Palace on Thursday will include Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, who leads the U.S. Conference of Bishops, and Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston, who advises the pope on sex abuse issues.

The Vatican announced Tuesday that Francis will meet this week with two other US cardinals, one of whom has said he wants a full-scale Vatican investigation of Archbishop McCarrick.

On the eve of the US audience, Francis announced he was summoning the presidents of bishops conferences around the world to a February summit to discuss prevention measures and protection of minors and vulnerable adults. Church historians questioned why such an urgent problem was being scheduled for discussion six months from now with the very bishops who are blamed for much of the scandal.

Wuerl's name was mentioned several times in the report for allegedly not doing enough to remove some predator priests from ministry. They are to discuss the church's sexual abuse scandal in the country and the cover-up of years of abuse claims against hundreds of parish priests.

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