ROME — Pope Francis on Saturday pledged a “thorough” study of Vatican archives related to disgraced former U.S. cardinal Theodore McCarrick from the College of Cardinals in July amid accusations that he sexually abused adults and minors and said the church would eventually “make known the conclusions.”

The Vatican statement was the first indication of how it plans to address one of its biggest scandals: McCarrick’s resignation from the College of Cardinals in July amid accusations that he sexually abused adults and minors.

The 450-word statement, issued at the pope’s request, did not address a separate major accusation that has roiled the Catholic Church – the claim that Francis was told five years ago about McCarrick’s alleged misconduct with young men and did nothing about it.

In making that accusation against Francis, the former Vatican ambassador to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, also said other top figures in the Vatican – including Pope Benedict XVI – knew about McCarrick years earlier.

“The Holy See is conscious that, from the examination of the facts and of the circumstances, it may emerge that choices were taken that would not be consonant with a contemporary approach to such issues,” the Vatican statement said.

Francis and the wider Roman Catholic Church have sustained significant reputational damage both from an onslaught of abuse cases around the world and from their struggle to deal transparently with the fallout. Vatican leaders have been largely silent in the aftermath of the Viganò accusations, and Francis has declined to address questions about what he knew.

The head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, has asked for a special Vatican-led probe – a so-called “apostolic visitation” – into McCarrick’s rise and whether figures within the church hierarchy knew of his behavior. But the Vatican has so far declined to order such a probe, one of its most powerful tools, which it used recently in Chile to investigate systemic abuse and coverup.

DiNardo is scheduled to meet with Francis on Monday.

The Vatican Saturday described a different kind of investigation into McCarrick, one that will involve information gathering from documents in Vatican offices. The goal, the Vatican said, is to “ascertain all the relevant facts, to place them in their historical context and to evaluate them objectively.”

The Vatican said that its own work would be combined with earlier efforts carried out by the Archdiocese of New York, which notified the Holy See in September 2017 about an abuse allegation against McCarrick from the 1970s. Francis ordered the archdiocese to investigate, the Vatican statement said, and “grave indications emerged” about McCarrick.