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US bishops’ conference to focus on four dioceses in McCarrick investigation

September 26, 2018

The administrative committee of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will propose a lay-led investigation of four dioceses where former cardinal Theodore McCarrick served: New York, Metuchen, Newark, and Washington, DC.

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The Crux news site, which reported the plans of the USCCB leadership, said that the proposal will be presented to the full membership of the USCCB at the bishops’ scheduled meeting in November. Crux confirmed reports that Pope Francis had recommended to the American bishops that they postpone their regular meeting, and instead meet for a spiritual retreat. The USCCB leadership has evidently opted against that suggestion, convinced that the sex-abuse scandal must be addressed promptly.

Bishops interviewed by Crux expressed concerns that a Vatican statement on the McCarrick scandal, which is now being prepared by the Secretariat of State, will be heavily edited and will fail to satisfy public demands for an honest explanation.

The investigation now being suggested by the USCCB leadership would rely on voluntary cooperation from officials of the four dioceses under scrutiny, and would not have access to confidential Vatican files. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the president of the USCCB, had asked Pope Francis to authorize an apostolic visitation, which would have had the authority to require bishops’ cooperation and to open Vatican files. The Pope turned down that appeal.


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