DC archbishop to discuss possible resignation with pope

XVI flanked by personal secretary Archbishop Georg Gaenswein during a Mass to mark the 900th anniversary of the Order of the Knights of Malta in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. Archbishop G

DC archbishop to discuss possible resignation with pope

The calling of the summit comes just weeks after Pope Francis' visit to Ireland - which was protested by child protection protesters - and in the wake of fresh sexual abuse scandals in a number of countries including the United States, Australia and Chile.

The summit was announced a day before Francis will meet American church leaders hit by fresh accusations over the cover-up of sex abuse by priests. He eventually admitted to "grave errors in judgment" and has taken steps to make amends, sanction guilty bishops and remake the Chilean episcopacy, which he accused of helping to fuel a "culture of cover-up".

The Council of Cardinals, sometimes called the "C9", is a group formed by Pope Francis himself, some members of which have been bogged down in recent days by their own set of scandals.

He has claimed that he was unaware of the allegations against Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., who resigned last month after he was accused of abuse.

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

A top Vatican official earlier this week acknowledged that some allegations against McCarrick were brought to the Vatican's attention as early as 2000.

The credibility of the USA church leadership is in tatters over the McCarrick scandal and recent revelations in the Pennsylvania grand jury report, which found that about 300 priests had abused more than 1,000 children since the 1940s. 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.

In an exclusive interview with FOX 5 after the grand jury report came out, Wuerl stated that he would not resign from his post and defended his record of dealing with predator priests while he was Pittsburgh's bishop.

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Garcia Ovejero reiterated the council's last written statement from September 10 in which the members asked Pope Francis for a reflection on "the work, structure and composition of the council itself, also taking into account the advanced age of some of its members".

"The Holy Father Francis, after hearing the Council of Cardinals, has chose to convene a meeting with the presidents of the Episcopal Conferences of the Catholic Church on the theme of the 'protection of minors, '" the Vatican press office said in a statement.

Wuerl submitted his resignation three years ago, but stayed on working at the Vatican's request. German media reported Wednesday that a church-commissioned study detailed 3,677 abuse cases between 1946 and 2014.

Achieving the goals, he had said, would involve "consultation with experts, laity and clergy, as well as the Vatican".

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