Pope Francis has summoned top Catholic officials to the Vatican for an unprecedented gathering to discuss the sexual-abuse scandal that has plagued the church. The pope will meet with the presidents of Catholic Bishops Conferences from around the world in Rome from Feb. 21-24, the Vatican press office confirmed Wednesday. The subject of the meeting will be the “protection of minors,” the announcement said. “The Holy Father Francis, after hearing the Council of Cardinals, has decided to convene a meeting with the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences of the Catholic Church on the theme of ‘Protection of minors,’” said the Vatican press office. An investigation this summer found sexual abuse of more than 1,000 children by members of the clergy in Pennsylvania, which has sparked new probes in several other U.S. states.
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