Vatican tells U.S. bishops not to vote on proposals to tackle sexual abuse, spurns outside investigations
The Vatican stymied a plan by America’s Catholic leaders to confront sexual abuse, insisting in a surprise directive [.] that U.S. bishops postpone their efforts to hold bishops more responsible in the abuse cases that have scourged the church.
Bishops attending the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops expressed a mixture of disappointment, acceptance and frustration at the news from Rome, while angry victims’ advocates accused church leaders of impeding reforms.
“What we see here is the Vatican again trying to suppress even modest progress by the U.S. bishops,” said Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, which compiles data on clergy abuse in the church. “We’re seeing where the problem lies, which is with the Vatican.”
In an unusual move intended to display strength and empathy with survivors, the bishops representing the country’s 196 archdiocese and dioceses had devoted their agenda almost exclusively to the burgeoning crisis starting with a period of prayer [.]. They had planned to vote [.] on a code of conduct, the first such ethical guidelines for bishops on sex abuse issues, and to establish a lay commission capable of investigating bishops’ misconduct.
Instead, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo — the president of the U.S. bishops’ conference — told the group that the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops had asked the bishops not to take action until after a worldwide meeting of church leaders in February.
“At the insistence of the Holy See, we will not be voting on the two action items,” DiNardo said, adding that he was “disappointed” by the Vatican’s move.
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