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Pope Francis Summons Bishops for Summit on Preventing Clergy Sex Abuse

Pope Francis prays during his weekly general audience in St Peter's square at the Vatican on April 25, 2018. - ANDREAS SOLARO—AFP/Getty Images
Pope Francis prays during his weekly general audience in St Peter's square at the Vatican on April 25, 2018. ANDREAS SOLARO—AFP/Getty Images

The Feb. 21-24 meeting is believed to be the first of its kind

(VATICAN CITY) — Pope Francis is summoning the presidents of every bishops conference around the world for a February summit to discuss preventing clergy sex abuse and protecting children.

Francis’ key cardinal advisers announced the decision Wednesday, as the latest chapter in the Catholic Church’s long-running sex abuse and cover-up scandal has thrown Francis’ papacy into crisis.

The Feb. 21-24 meeting 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 insisted.

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Francis’ papacy has been jolted by accusations he rehabilitated a top American cardinal from sanctions imposed by Pope Benedict XVI for having molested and harassed adult seminarians.

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