Just prior to their meeting, the pope accepted the resignation of West Virginia bishop Michael Bransfield and has authorized an investigation into allegations that he abused adults.
The Pope held an emergency summit with a delegation of American bishops at the Vatican to consider a response to a United States grand jury report in July that 1,000 children had been molested in Pennsylvania since the 1940s. The Vatican announced his resignation while his cousin, Rev. Brian Bransfield, was in that same meeting with the pope.
The recently released grand jury report into sex abuse within the Catholic Church named Wuerl as someone who had allowed priests to continue their work despite allegations of abuse. And the report says that in several instances, church files documenting abuse have been altered or destroyed.
The planned Vatican meeting is believed to be unprecedented, indicating that the church recognises that clergy sex abuse is a global problem - potentially even in non-Western countries where the church maintains strong social power and cases have not come to light in great number.
An archbishop has accused Francis himself of turning a blind eye to the alleged misdeeds of McCarrick, who has resigned from the College of Cardinals.
The church is facing abuse scandals in the United States, Chile, Australia and Germany, among other places.
He said a decision about his future "is an essential aspect so that this archdiocesan church we all love can move forward". A church report there found more than 1,600 priests and clerics had abused more than 3,600 minors in a almost 70-year period.
"My primary concern is for the care and support of the priests and people of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston at this hard time", Archbishop Lori said in the statement September 13.
The Vatican said that among those meeting the pope would be the head of the USA bishops' conference, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the archbishop of the Galveston-Houston area, and Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley of Boston.
DiNardo requested a full-fledged Vatican investigation into the McCarrick affair, and said he also wanted answers to allegations that a string of Vatican officials knew of McCarrick's misdeeds since 2000, but turned a blind eye.
Since the Pennsylvania report was issued last month, prosecutors in a half-dozen US states have announced plans for similar investigations.
The scandal implicates the Pope himself after former USA nuncio Carlo Viganò testified Pope Francis and other high ranking churchmen covered up the serial sexual abuse of seminarians and young priests by ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
Pope Francis is calling the presidents of every Catholic bishops' conference in the world to Rome Feb. 21-24 to discuss the prevention of the abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.