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Bishops from English-speaking nations gather to discuss clerical abuse

July 04, 2013

Representatives from the bishops’ conferences of 20 English-speaking countries gathered recently to discuss their response to clerical sexual abuse.

“A major interest was in how episcopal conferences around the world have responded to the Circular Letter of May 2011 from the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF),” recounted Bishop Daniel Conlon of Joliet, chairman of the US bishops’ Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People. “The letter asked all episcopal conferences to develop guidelines for child abuse and protection. Father Robert Oliver, the new Promoter of Justice at CDF, reported that more than 80% of the conferences have submitted guidelines.”

“Participants found a contrast between episcopal conferences with highly developed protocols and those just beginning to develop them,” Bishop Conlon continued. “One representative from Africa said that every culture seems to have tribes that are sure it is the other tribes that are doing this horrible thing.”

Bishop Conlon noted that “all episcopal conferences are dealing with the use of pornography” and that “participants shared information on how to develop safety plans for priest-offenders who have been assigned [by the Vatican] to a life of payer and penance. Everyone recognized the practical challenges of such plans, especially for diocesan priests.”


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