Pope Francis summons bishops for meeting on protecting minors

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick archbishop emeritus of Washington was sanctioned

In a letter to priests in the diocese, Wuerl said he will meet with Francis about the resignation he presented almost three years ago at age 75, the mandatory age for Catholic bishops to submit their retirement to the Pope.

In his report, Viganò attributed a number of important papal appointments in the United States-including those of Cardinals Blase Cupich in Chicago and Cardinal Joseph Tobin in Newark-to McCarrick's influence over Pope Francis.

Pope Francis is calling a meeting of Church leaders from across the world to discuss child protection as he seeks to step up his response to the clerical sexual abuse crisis.

The church is facing abuse scandals in the United States, Chile, Australia and Germany, among other places.

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But he said the years-long scandal, and recent revelations in the Pennsylvania grand jury report, showed just "how many souls have been wounded irrevocably and mortally by priests from the Catholic Church". The meeting in February will bring together the heads of all national bishops' conferences, from more than 100 countries.

Controversy continues to swirl around the Pope and other top prelates after Viganò's August 25 testimony implicated Francis and others as covering for McCarrick.

The Vatican's statement on Wednesday did not set out what the agenda might look like in February. Victims groups have for years said the Vatican needs to better address how to deal with prelates who cover up abuse and how to ensure that abuse victims have a clear way to report what has happened to them.

An open question in advance of the summit is whether the Vatican will issue a universal call for bishops and religious superiors to report suspected abuse to police; now, it advises church leaders to report suspected abuse when it's required under local laws. But within the church, Francis's stance on the underlying problem has been contested.

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After weeks of relative silence, Pope Francis has agreed to meet a delegation of USA bishops and cardinals to discuss the Vatican response to the clergy abuse crisis.

St. John Paul II made him archbishop of Washington and a cardinal in 2001, presumably because Vatican officials were impressed by his fundraising prowess and considered his past homosexual activity a mere "moral lapse" and not a gross abuse of power. Two of those allegations resulted in settlements, the bishops said.

Wuerl had served as Bishop of the Pittsburgh Diocese for 18 years, and, his name was mentioned prominently in the grand jury report for allegedly not doing enough to remove predator priests from ministry...while noting at the same time, that Wuerl did, at times, refuse to return priests to parishes, after they were accused of sexual abuse.

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