At the upcoming meeting on protecting minors, Pope Francis wants leaders of the world’s bishops’ conferences to clearly understand what must be done to prevent abuse, care for victims and ensure no case is whitewashed or covered up.
Without a clear and decisive focus on spiritual conversion and Gospel-inspired ways of responding to victims and exercising ministry, “everything we do risks being tainted by self-referentiality, self-preservation and defensiveness, and thus doomed from the start,” Pope Francis wrote to U.S. bishops.
Pope Francis named U.S. Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago to be part of the organizing committee preparing for a meeting of the world’s bishops’ conferences and representatives of religious orders to address the abuse and protection of minors.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said Nov. 14 he had opened the bishops’ fall general assembly “expressing some disappointment,” but “I end it with hope.”
The Boston Globe and the Philadelphia Inquirer newspapers teamed up for an article published in both daily papers Nov. 4 that examined ways it said the U.S. bishops have failed to police themselves even since their 2002 gathering in Dallas about clergy sex abuse when they “promised that the church’s days of concealment and inaction were over.”
A New York auxiliary bishop has been removed from public ministry pending a Vatican review of a decades-old accusation of sexual abuse against him, a claim he denies, the Archdiocese of New York said in a letter released Oct. 31.
An attorney for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has confirmed that federal officials have asked the organization to keep documents and other files that might pertain to possible sex abuse allegations and other matters and to order the same of all dioceses around the country.
The firestorm surrounding the clergy sex abuse crisis and the way some bishops handled allegations of abuse against priests will be an important part of the agenda of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ fall general assembly.
Pope Francis, Cardinal Marc Ouellet and an official Vatican statement seem to be laying the groundwork for an admission that mistakes were made in handling allegations that Archbishop Theodore McCarrick engaged in sexual misconduct and even abuse.
Promising a thorough review of how the Vatican handled allegations of sexual misconduct by former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the Vatican acknowledged that what happened may fall short of the procedures that are in place today.