The Vatican requested U.S. bishops delay a vote on measures to address the Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandals because church leaders in the U.S. failed to properly consult with the Holy See before voting, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

The news outlet obtained a letter from Cardinal Marc Ouellet at the Vatican that said the measures the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops planned to vote on were legally problematic and that the group had only given the Vatican a few days to review them.

The letter contradicts the explanation at the time by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who told other church leaders in November that Pope Francis did not want the bishops to vote on the proposals until after a meeting of church leaders in February.


DiNardo said at the time he was "disappointed" by the pope's request.

The AP reported Tuesday that the Vatican letter, which undermines DiNardo's explanation, could spur questions at a spiritual retreat of U.S. bishops that begins Wednesday. 

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in September announced measures to hold predators within the church accountable in the wake of a Pennsylvania grand jury report that detailed hundreds of instances of sexual abuse at the hands of priests.

The reforms included developing a "code of conduct" for priests, creating a "third-party" system for reporting sexual abuse and implementing restrictions on bishops who were removed or resigned because of sexual abuse.

The Catholic Church grappled with a fresh wave of sexual abuse scandals in 2018, including the Pennsylvania report and a report in Germany that detailed alleged abuse against 3,677 people between 1946 and 2014, including numerous victims younger than 13.