Pope Francis’ top advisers have said the Vatican is preparing the “necessary clarifications” about accusations that the Pope covered up the sexual misconduct of a now-disgraced American cardinal.
Francis’ nine cardinal advisers expressed their “full solidarity” with the Pope over the scandal, which has thrown his papacy into crisis.
The cardinals, who are meeting this week at the Vatican, issued a statement saying the Holy See “is working on formulating potential and necessary clarifications”.
Francis has refused to respond to claims by the retired ambassador to the US, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, that Francis rehabilitated ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick from canonical sanctions imposed on him by Pope Benedict XVI.
The Vatican has known since 2000 that McCarrick slept with seminarians.
Francis removed him as cardinal following accusations he groped a teenager.
The Pope’s refusal to immediately respond to Mr Vigano’s claims has frustrated many Catholics in the US who were already outraged that McCarrick’s penchant for seminarians and young priests was apparently an open secret in some Catholic circles.
That outrage has been compounded by revelations of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, detailing the abuse of more than 1,000 children by 300 priests over 70 years, while bishops covered up for them.
Since the Pennsylvania report was published last month, prosecutors in half a dozen other states have announced plans for similar investigations.