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September 11, 2018
Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images

Pope Francis will meet with bishops and cardinals from the United States on Thursday to discuss how to respond to accusations of clergy sex abuse, the Vatican announced Tuesday.

In August, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, the leader of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, requested a meeting with the pontiff. He will be joined at the Apostolic Palace by Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston, who advises Francis on sex abuse issues; Archbishop Jose Gomez, vice president of the bishops' conference; and Monsignor Brian Bransfield, the conference secretary.

When asking for the meeting, DiNardo said he wanted Francis to back an investigation into former Washington, D.C., Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, who resigned as cardinal in July after being accused of sexually abusing a teenager. The bishops are expected to ask the pope how to move forward with a canonical trial, NPR reports. Last month, a Pennsylvania grand jury report was released that went into stark detail about sex abuse in six dioceses, and the former Vatican ambassador to the U.S., Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, released a letter accusing Vatican officials and U.S. church leaders of covering up McCarrick's alleged abuse of male seminarians. Pope Francis has not responded to Viagno's accusation that he was part of the cover-up, and the pope's Council of Cardinals said the Vatican will soon offer "clarifications." Catherine Garcia