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The Latest: US ambassador: Protect children, stop sex abuse

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Latest on Pope Francis' sex abuse summit at the Vatican (all times local): 5:15 p.m. The U.S. ambassador to the Vatican says she hopes the Holy See will show a "renewed commitment to ending clerical sexual abuse" following this week's summit of church leaders at the Vatican.

Ambassador Callista Gingrich met Friday with a group of U.S. survivors who came to Rome to demand an end to the church's cover-up and greater transparency and accountability from the Holy See. In a statement, Gingrich says the U.S. supports Pope Francis' commitment to protecting children, and said victims should pursue justice.

She says: "President Trump takes this issue very seriously and has expressed his sadness at the allegations of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. The United States Embassy to the Holy See has engaged senior Vatican officials on this matter and will continue to do so."

4:10 p.m.

Two U.S. cardinals attending the Vatican's sex abuse prevention summit say the downfall of their onetime colleague Theodore McCarrick is sad but they hope a new spirit of accountability in the Catholic hierarchy will prevent future cover-ups of bishop misconduct.

Cardinals Sean O'Malley of Boston and Blase Cupich of Chicago addressed the McCarrick scandal at a news conference on the summit's second day, which was dedicated to accountability.

Pope Francis defrocked McCarrick last week after the Vatican found him guilty of sexually abusing minors and adults, including during confession. It was apparently an open secret in some Catholic circles in the U.S. and at the Vatican that he slept with seminarians.

O'Malley said Friday he expected the Vatican and U.S. dioceses investigating McCarrick's rise through the church would soon release the findings from their investigations

11 a.m.

Cardinals attending Pope Francis' summit on preventing clergy sex abuse are calling for a new culture of accountability in the Catholic Church to punish bishops and religious superiors when they fail to protect their flocks from predator priests.

On the second day of Francis' extraordinary gathering of Catholic leaders, the debate shifted to how church leaders must acknowledge that decades of their own cover-ups, secrecy and fear of scandal had only worsened the sex abuse crisis.

Mumbai Cardinal Oswald Gracias says "we need to seek pardon ... because along the way we have failed,"

Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich told the conference that new legal procedures were needed to both report and investigate Catholic superiors when they are accused of misconduct themselves or of negligence in handling abuse cases. He said lay experts must be involved at every step of the process.

More AP coverage of clergy sex abuse at https://www.apnews.com/Sexualabusebyclergy

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