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Pope calls unprecedented meeting of top officials over sex abuse scandal

Ns News Online DeskNs News Online Desk: Pope Francis has called an unprecedented meeting of Catholic Church leaders in response to the sex abuse scandal that has marred the papacy.

Presidents of every bishop conference around the world will meet Feb. 21 to 24, 2019, to discuss preventing clergy sexual misconduct and protecting children.

Francis’ advisers announced the first-of-its-kind summit Wednesday, a day before he meets with US bishops and cardinals over recent bombshell revelations of sexual abuse and allegations of cover-ups at the church’s highest echelons. The meeting will be led by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and also include Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the pope’s top sex abuse adviser.

DiNardo wants Francis to green-light a Vatican investigation into ex-Washington, DC, Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, who resigned in disgrace in July over substantiated allegations that he sexually abused a teenage altar boy 47 years ago. DiNardo has accused church leaders of covering up McCarrick’s behavior for years. The Vatican has known about the abuse — and that McCarrick would invite seminarians to his New Jersey beach house and into his bed — since at least 2000.

Church leaders will also discuss a damning grand jury report that revealed more than 300 priests in Pennsylvania have sexually abused minors over the past 70 years. Last week, New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood sent subpoenas to the state’s eight Roman Catholic dioceses seeking documents related to complaints of clergy sex abuse, payments to possible victims and results of internal probes.

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