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Pope summons US cardinals to Rome

 Pope John Paul II has asked all 13 American cardinals to come to the Vatican, to discuss recent disclosures of sex scandals, which have rocked the church. The Vatican press office said yesterday evening that the meeting will probably take place next week. While five of the 13 American cardinals are now in retirement, it is expected that the eight in charge of archdioceses will attend. They are Cardinal William H. Keeler of Baltimore; Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston; Cardinal Francis George of Chicago; Cardinal Adam Maida of Detroit; Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles; Cardinal Edward Egan of New York; Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua of Philadelphia; and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington. Across the whole country, around 3,000 priests are currently facing allegations of child abuse. The scandals are also a huge financial burden for the church. Legal settlement costs have already reached more than one billion dollars and commentators say some archdiocese could be bankrupted by future cases. The Archbishops of New York and Boston - traditionally the two most important posts in the Catholic church in the US - have been under pressure to resign because of their alleged role in covering up cases of abuse involving priests. The Archbishop of Milwaukee has also been accused of suppressing information about cases of alleged abuse.