Leaders of the national Catholic bishops’ conferences will meet with the pontiff at the Vatican from February 21 to 24, 2019.

The Vatican announced the meeting at the end of a three-day summit of the “C-9”, a group of nine cardinals from around the world who meet four times a year to advise the pope.

The ongoing sexual abuse crisis which has affected the United States, Chile, Australia and Germany, among others, was the main focus of the meeting.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, will attend the meeting next year along with two other conference officials and Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the head of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Conservative Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano sparked controversy last month when he claimed Pope Francis had ignored sexual abuse allegations against US cardinal Theodore McCarrick for five years. 

Vigano also said the pontiff should step down due to the scandal.

Pope Francis is yet to respond to the allegations.