Pope calls world’s bishops to meeting on sexual abuse of children

merlin_143627457_a7b2a0d9-f48f-4bb7-8486-b450f016ead6-jumboSource: The New York Times

By Jason Horowitz and Laurie Goodstein

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis summoned bishops from around the world to Rome for an unprecedented meeting focused on protecting minors. The order on Wednesday comes as the pope wrestles with a global clerical sexual abuse crisis and explosive accusations of a cover-up that have shaken his papacy and the entire Roman Catholic Church.

The extraordinary meeting marks the first time that presidents of bishops’ conferences worldwide have been summoned for a meeting on a specific topic — more than 100 will be there — and the choice of topic was telling. Just last month, the Vatican’s former ambassador in the United States accused the pope of willfully ignoring a history of sexual misconduct by an American cardinal.

After three decades of denial, the Vatican is being forced to treat the sex abuse problem as a global crisis, and not the failing of a particular country or culture.

News of the pope’s summons came as a study commissioned by the church in Germany revealed the abuse of thousands of children by more than a thousand clergymen there for decades. The study was due to be published later this month, but was leaked.

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