U.S. Cardinals Reportedly Summoned to Rome to Talk About Scandals

Extraordinary Meeting Scheduled Next Week, Say News Agencies

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NEW YORK, APRIL 15, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II has called American cardinals to the Vatican for an extraordinary meeting on the sex abuse scandals involving priests, news agencies reported today.

The talks will take place early next week, said an unidentified Vatican official cited by the Associated Press. The meeting will include top Vatican officials, Reuters reported.

The Vatican official said only the eight American cardinals in charge of an archdiocese will be involved in the talks, AP reported.

The agency also quoted a spokeswoman for the U.S. bishops´ conference, Sister Mary Ann Walsh. She said that Bishops Wilton Gregory and William Skylstad, president and vice president, respectively, of the episcopal conference, would also attend the meeting.

The Church has been under intense criticism for its handling of the sex abuse scandals. It stands accused of covering for guilty priests, in some cases by moving known abusers from parish to parish, and has already paid millions of dollars in damages to victims.

The Pope´s summons comes just days after the top U.S. bishops had their semiannual talks with the Holy Father. The sex abuse scandals dominated the discussions, and Bishop Gregory said afterward that the Pope wants to help.

«He extended his hand in support to the bishops of the United States,» he said.

At the center of the controversy is Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston. He has resisted calls for his resignation since admitting he transferred a priest to another parish despite knowing of sexual misconduct allegations.

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