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Pope summons bishops for February abuse prevention summit

AP  |  Vatican City 

is summoning the presidents of every bishops conference around the world for a February summit to discuss preventing clergy sex abuse and protecting children evidence that he realizes the scandal is global and that inaction threatens to undermine his legacy.

Francis' key cardinal advisers announced the decision Wednesday, a day before meets with U.S. church leaders who have been deeply discredited by the latest accusations in the Catholic Church's decades-long sex abuse and cover-up scandal.

The Feb 21-24 meeting at the Vatican is believed to be the first of its kind, and signals a realization at the highest levels of the church that clergy sex abuse is a global problem and not restricted to the Anglo-Saxon world, as many church leaders have long tried to insist.

Earlier this year, faced what was then the worst crisis of his papacy when he repeatedly discredited victims of a notorious Chilean He eventually admitted to "grave errors in judgment" and has taken steps to make amends, sanction guilty bishops and remake the Chilean episcopacy.

More recently, Francis' papacy has been jolted by accusations from a retired Vatican that he rehabilitated a top American cardinal from sanctions imposed by Pope for having molested and harassed adult seminarians.

The Vatican hasn't responded to the accusations by Carlo Maria Vigano, but has promised "clarifications" that presumably will come sometime after Francis' meeting Thursday with the US delegation.

The Vatican said Tuesday the meeting would be headed by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Conference of Catholic Bishops, and also include Francis' top sex abuse adviser, Cardinal

Di Nardo has said he wants Francis to authorize a full-fledged Vatican investigation into ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was removed as cardinal in July after a credible accusation that he groped a teenager.

The Vatican has known since at least 2000 that McCarrick would invite seminarians to his beach house and into his bed.

St John made him of 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.

DiNardo has also said recent accusations that top Vatican officials - including the current pope - covered up for McCarrick since 2000 deserve answers.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, September 12 2018. 18:05 IST
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