A statement from the pope's cardinal advisory board September 12 said, "The Holy Father Francis, hearing the Council of Cardinals, chose to convene a meeting with the Presidents of the Bishops Conferences of the Catholic Church on the theme of 'protection of minors'".
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.
Abuse scandals have also shaken the Catholic Church in Australia, Chile and Ireland, among other countries.
The Church was also rocked in August by a devastating U.S. report on child sex abuse which accused more than 300 "predator" priests of abusing more than 1,000 minors over seven decades in the state of Pennsylvania.
Francis' key cardinal advisers announced plans for the summit early next year the day before the pope meets with US church leaders embroiled in their own credibility crisis from the latest accusations in the Catholic Church's decades-long sex abuse scandal.
The pope's former apostolic nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, accused the pope of knowing about and ignoring sanctions placed on then-Cardinal McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI due to his sexual misconduct with seminarians.
Francis has received significant criticism over his handling of abuse, including an open letter from the Catholic Women's forum that has received more than 44,000 signatures.
The Vatican has known since at least 2000 that McCarrick invited seminarians to his New Jersey beach house and into his bed, but was made a cardinal anyway.
As sexual abuse scandals continue to plague the Catholic church, Pope Francis has now taken an unprecedented step towards doing something about it.
The Vatican hasn't responded to the accusations, but presumably the "clarifications" it has promised will come sometime after Francis meets with the top USA church leadership this week.
DiNardo has also said recent accusations that senior Vatican officials including the current pope had covered up for McCarrick since 2000 deserve answers.
He announced Tuesday that he will be meeting with the pope in the near future about the mandatory resignation letter he submitted when he turned 75 in 2015.
The U.S. isn't alone in digging into its past. Archbishop Jose Gomez, vice president of the bishops' conference, and Monsignor Brian Bransfield, the conference secretary, will also attend, according to the Vatican.