Vatican promises 'clarifications' over Pope cover-up claims

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Earlier this morning, news from Rome announced that the Pope will be summoning the presidents of the Catholic Bishops conferences from around the world - top officials of the Catholic Church - to discuss the escalating sexual abuse scandals dominating countless headlines.

POOL New / Reuters Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick waves to fellow bishops as attends the midday prayer service at the Cathedral of St. Matthews in Washington September 23, 2015.

The Vatican hasn't responded to Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano's allegations against the pope and some two dozen other Vatican and US officials, but has promised "clarifications" that could come after Francis' meeting Thursday with the USA delegation.

The controversy has engulfed Cardinal O'Malley, who apologized for how his office mishandled a 2015 letter from a priest with concerns about McCarrick.

His statement said the group told Francis the US church was "lacerated by the evil of sexual abuse".

They included the finding that priests sexually assaulted more than 3,600 children in Germany over almost seven decades.

The Vatican announced his resignation while his cousin, Rev. Brian Bransfield, was in that same meeting with the pope.

The video clip showed the 75-year-old prelate giving a speech during which he drew attention to the recent sex abuse scandals involving the church, notably in the USA state of Pennsylvania.

The credibility of the United States 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.

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Francis called for an unprecedented meeting of Catholic bishops in February to discuss the sexual abuse scandal and what can be done to keep children safe.

Cardinal Wuerl was named in the report and accused of protecting those priests while he was a bishop in Pittsburgh.

Moving priests who have been accused of child sex abuse is widely seen as a way to help them avoid facing any consequences.

Pressure has been growing on the Pope in recent weeks with the church in the U.S. facing allegations of sexual abuse on several fronts.

Baltimore Bishop William Lori said in a statement that Francis had instructed him to "conduct an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment of adults against Bishop Bransfield".

In a statement afterwards, DiNardo said they told the pope of "our situation in the United States - how the Body of Christ is lacerated by the evil of sexual abuse". The real decision-makers, such as Cardinals and high-ranking Vatican officials, do not appear to be attending this synod of bishops.

Archbishop Lori was scheduled to meet with members of the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese on Thursday and Friday, and he set up a telephone hotline for victims to call.

Nine days after Di Nardo's letter was released, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò released his explosive testimony alleging that the Pope was told about allegations that McCarrick had abused seminarians and that restrictions had been placed on the former Cardinal Archbishop of Washington by Benedict XVI. McFadden said he did not know when the meeting would occur.