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US bishops unlikely to change sex-abuse policies despite new criticism

Catholic World News - June 15, 2011

At this week’s Seattle meeting, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) are not expected to make any significant changes in their policies for handling sex-abuse complaints, despite a recent spate of complaints about bishops’ performance on that issue.

Bishop Blaise Cupich of Spokane, who chairs the USCCB committee on sex abuse, told the New York Times that the bishops retain full confidence in the “Dallas Charter,” which they approved in 2002. “We consider the charter to have an iconic status,” he said.

The most recent complaints about American bishops’ handling of the abuse scandal, aired in Philadelphia and Kansas City, involve the apparent failure of some bishops to follow the policies established at the Dallas meeting. Nicholas Cafardi, the author of Before Dallas, told the Times that the key consideration is fraternal correction among the bishops.

“Unless the bishops are willing to call each other out,” Cafardi said, “we will always have individual bishops who think that they can ignore the requirements of the charter.”

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  • Posted by: GabrielAustin9013 - Jun. 16, 2011 11:41 AM ET USA

    One cannot but repeat it many times. The USCCB has no authority to enforce its suggestions. Every bishop is independent in his diocese. The Dallas Charter was a cop-out, pretending to be a decisive answer to the problem of clerical sexual abuse. See Avery Dulles' criticism of that document. The responsibility for the sexual abuse - and chiefly for the cover-ups - lies with each individual bishop. No number of meetings can relieve each bishop of this responsibility.

  • Posted by: Savonarola - Jun. 15, 2011 6:15 PM ET USA

    Are you going to tell us, Bishop Cupich, as have other bishops before, that the ABUSE-AND-COVERUP crisis (to use a more appropriate title) is "history" or was "of last year" despite the recently revealed episcopal failures in Philadelphia and Kansas City?

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