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US Catholic leaders expect changes

Several in the Church in the US have said the sexual abuse policy proposal that will be discussed in Dallas this week needs to be strengthened.

The proposed policy that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is expected to focus on calls for zero-tolerance for priests who molest children in the future and a two-strikes-you're-out policy for those guilty of past abuse.

Under the proposal, the Vatican would be asked to defrock those who violate the policy, and all abuse of minors would be reported to civil authorities.

``What we have before us is a draft, and I think it needs to be strengthened,'' Cardinal Adam Maida of Detroit told parishioners attending Sunday Mass at St. Kenneth Catholic.

The draft has come under fire from victims for not being tough enough on abusive priests. Bishop William Lori, of Bridgeport, Conn., said he plans to present specific changes to strengthen the proposal.

``We will have a chance to amend the document and submit alternative language. I will be participating in that amendment process,'' he said.

Archbishop Harry Flynn of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., one of the architects of the policy, said he expected changes before the plan faced the full body of bishops.

``I hope something will happen in Dallas that will speak to the people and say to the people, 'We've got it, we know that we mishandled this, and we've got it,''' Flynn said Sunday on ABC's ``This Week''.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops


11 Jun 2002