Pope summons bishops for summit on sex-abuse prevention

Pope Francis arrives to lead the Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican

Catholic Church in United States are shaken by Grand Jury report that found 301 priests sexually abusing minors.

Pope Francis has summoned senior Catholic bishops from around the world to the Vatican to discuss the protection of minors, in his latest attempt to come to grips with a spreading sexual abuse crisis.

The meeting at the Vatican in February is believed to be the first of its kind, and signals a realisation from the highest levels of the church that clerical abuse is a global problem.

The unprecedented summit is scheduled to take place February 21-24 and comes on the heels of serious questions about Pope Francis's handling of the sexual abuse committed by Catholic bishops and priests most recently in the United States and Chile.

The grand jury's report focused on not just the sexual abuse - ranging from fondling to rape - committed by priests, but the role of the church's bishops, including Cardinal Wuerl when he was bishop of Pittsburgh, in moving miscreants to other parishes, in silencing or buying off victims and families, and in not reporting criminal acts to authorities.

Francis' key cardinal advisers announced the decision Wednesday, a day before Francis meets with USA church leaders, who are facing fresh accusations following the bombshell grand jury report.

As sexual abuse scandals continue to plague the Catholic church, Pope Francis has now taken an unprecedented step towards doing something about it.

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The Vatican's former ambassador to the U.S., Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, released an explosive letter on August 26, accusing top Vatican and U.S. church leaders of covering up for McCarrick for many years.

Wuerl is facing increasing scrutiny both over what he may have known about abuse allegations against his predecessor, former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in Washington, and how he handled abusive priests while he headed the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

DiNardo has said that he wants the pope to approve a full investigation of the McCarrick case, and that reports of a cover-up by the Vatican and the pope himself need to be answered.

He announced Tuesday that he will be meeting with the pope in the near future about the mandatory resignation letter he submitted when he turned 75 in 2015.

The past of the Catholic Church is being dug up in other countries. Every sixth case involved rape and at least 1,670 clergy were involved, according to Spiegel Online and Die Zeit.

In their conclusions, the German researchers said there was evidence that some church files were manipulated or destroyed.

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