Pope calls meeting of key bishops on sexual abuse: Vatican

  • Pope calls meeting of key bishops on sexual abuse: Vatican

Pope calls meeting of key bishops on sexual abuse: Vatican

It also alleged that he concealed information when priests were reported to law enforcement and oversaw insufficient church investigations into abuse.

The announcement comes amid growing criticism of the Pope's role in dealing with historical child abuse within the Catholic Church, and a day before he is scheduled to meet Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The 21-24 February meeting of the presidents of the more than 100 bishops conferences is believed to be the first of its kind, and signals a realisation at the highest levels of the church that clerical sexual abuse is a global problem and not restricted to the Anglo-Saxon world, as many church leaders have long tried to portray.

Three cardinals were absent from the latest C9 meeting, including Francisco Javier Errazuriz, who is accused of ignoring reports of abuse in Chile, and George Pell who faces prosecution in Australia for child sexual offences.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the bishop of Pittsburgh between 1988 and 2006, was named in last month's scathing Pennsylvania grand-jury report as having concealed complaints of predator priests who sexually abused more than 1,000 children.

Pope Francis plans to meet with top Roman Catholic officials next year to discuss the growing number of sexual abuse cases involving Catholic clergy.

The Americans have called on Francis to launch a Vatican-led investigation into how Theodore McCarrick, a former U.S. cardinal, climbed the ranks, even as rumours swirled about his behaviour.

The former papal ambassador to Washington claimed he was told Francis knew about sanctions placed on McCarrick by Benedict XVI in 2009 or 2010.

Victims' advocates immediately dismissed the event as belated damage control, an action publicized hastily as allegations regarding Francis' record of handling abuse cases - and accumulated outrage among rank-and-file Catholic faithful over covered-up crimes - jeopardize his papacy.

Mr DiNardo has said recent accusations of top Vatican officials, including the current pope, covering up for McCarrick deserve answers.

And yet St. John Paul II made him archbishop of Washington and a cardinal in 2001, presumably because Vatican officials impressed by his fundraising prowess considered his past homosexual activity a mere "moral lapse" and not a gross abuse of power. In a letter to priests on Tuesday, he said he would be returning to Rome soon to discuss his resignation, aware that it's time for new leadership.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a policy in 2002 that is regarded as the gold standard policy.

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