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Vatican receives US church's policy on dealing with sexually abusive priests

The Vatican acknowledged on Tuesday it has received details of a policy approved by American bishops in Dallas last month but gave no indication how long it would take to examine the plan, which would bar sexually abusive priests from church work.

The bishops need Vatican approval to make the policy binding on every US diocese. Some Vatican officials have expressed concern that the plan is too sweeping - raising the possibility that the Holy See would reject it.

Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, travelled to Rome last week to personally deliver the results of the Dallas meeting in June.

The proposed policy will now be examined by various Vatican offices, but it was not known how long this will take.

A full Vatican review could be lengthy, since it would involve several departments, including those dealing with clergy, bishops and doctrinal orthodoxy. Those are the same departments the US cardinals sounded out in April when they came to Rome for talks with Pope John Paul II about the abuse scandal.

Several church officials in Rome have expressed concern that American clergy accused of sexual abuse would be subjected to 'summary' trials.

US Conference of Catholic Bishops: Restoring Trust - a Response to Sexual Abuse


4 Jul 2002