The summit will take place at the Vatican in February

The Pope will meet with senior Catholic bishops from around the world next year to discuss the "protection of minors" within the church.

The meeting will be held in the Vatican from the 21st to the 24th of February and will centre around "the prevention of abuse of minors and vulnerable adults".

At this weeks Council of Cardinals, the Pope is said to have "reflected extensively" on the theme of abuse with other church leaders.

The Pontiff is set to meet American church leaders tomorrow to discuss the alleged covering up of clerical sex abuse.

It follows the resignation of US Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in July over a sex abuse allegation.

In August, a bombshell investigation also alleged that 301 Catholic priests in Pennsylvania sexually abused children while serving in active ministry - with a grand jury suggesting there could have been 'thousands' of victims.

Pope Francis addressed the issue of clerical abuse during a speech in Dublin last month, saying the failure of church authorities to address the "repugnant crimes" remains a source of "pain and shame for the Catholic community".