Pope Francis summons bishops for meeting on protecting minors

MANILA, Philippines – Pope Francis summoned to Rome the presidents of bishops' conferences around the world for a February 2019 meeting on the protection of minors, the Vatican announced on Wednesday, September 12.

The meeting is set at the Vatican from February 21 to 24, 2019, according to a communiqué of the Pope's Council of Cardinals. Francis decided to convene the meeting after hearing the council.

This comes as an archbishop accuses the Pope of covering up sexual abuse allegations against an American cardinal. 

The Philippines' representative to this meeting is expected to be Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines. 

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano sparked a firestorm last month when he claimed Francis had personally ignored abuse allegations against prominent US cardinal Theodore McCarrick for 5 years. 

Vigano, a former Vatican envoy to Washington, also called on the Pope to step down.

Francis has so far refused to respond to the allegations.

On Saturday, September 8, the Pope urged newly-ordained bishops to fight abuse and reject what he termed the "clerical" culture which has seen a series of sex abuse scandals rock the Catholic Church. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.