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US bishops to meet pope amid crisis in confidence over abuse

VATICAN CITY — A delegation of U.S. Catholic cardinals and bishops is having an audience with Pope Francis amid a crisis of confidence in church leadership following sex abuse and cover-up revelations that have also implicated Francis himself.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, requested the audience last month following revelations that a now-disgraced ex-cardinal, Theodore McCarrick, had risen through church ranks despite allegations of sexual misconduct that were known in U.S. and Vatican circles.

DiNardo followed up his request for a full-fledged Vatican investigation into the McCarrick affair with a request for answers about allegations that a string of Vatican officials — including Francis — knew of McCarrick’s misdeeds since 2000.

DiNardo is heading the U.S. delegation at Thursday’s audience.