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Quick Vatican approval likely for US sex-abuse policy

The Vatican is likely to give prompt approval to the new sex-abuse policy adopted by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops last week.

A Vatican canon law specialist, speaking anonymously to the news agency I Media, said that officials at the Holy See are keenly aware of the urgency with which the American bishops regard the situation, and will move quickly to approve the new norms. He US bishops' policy would probably be approved "in the next few weeks".

Before they enter into force, the policies that were adopted by the US bishops at their Dallas meeting last week must be approved by three separate Roman dicasteries: the Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith, for Bishops, and for Legislative Texts.

The canon law specialist commented that Vatican officials might be critical of the "excessive bureaucratisation of the investigations" that could result from the requirement for committees of laity in each diocese to "assist" the bishop in appraising sex abuse allegations. He also cautioned against a tendency to think of priests as "employees" of the bishop, while they in fact work together in a shared missionary role that is a divine vocation rather than mere employment.

Restoring Trust: A Response to Sexual Abuse (US Bishops) Clergy Abuse Tracker


21 Jun 2002