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Bishops' president warns against using scandals to hurt Catholic teaching


US Bishops Conference President Bishop Wilton Gregory insisted yesterday that church leaders are committed to protecting minors even though they are revising their discipline policy for sexually abusive priests over victims' objections.

"We will not step back from our compassion for those who have been harmed, or from our determination to put into place policies that will protect children," Bishop Wilton Gregory (pictured), said in his opening address to the bishops' meeting.

The bishops are meeting for four days, and are expected later in the week to approve the latest version of their rules for handling molestation claims against priests.

Gregory said that critics hope to capitalize on the church's year of scandal to undermine Catholic teaching, and he urged bishops to challenge them. He also asked bishops not to allow the sex abuse crisis to fracture their relationships with each other.

"Whatever the differences we have experienced with one another this year, it is essential to our life in Christ that we address them appropriately and reconcile fully with one another," he said.

The bishops approved a disciplinary plan when they last met five months ago in Texas. The policy before the group now is a revision negotiated with the Vatican that protects priests' rights and underscores that bishops, not lay people, have the authority to oversee clergy.

SOURCE
AP

LINKS
Bishop Gregory says disunity caused by abuse scandal must be overcome (Catholic News Service)
Abuse norms strengthened by Rome meeting, bishops told (Catholic News Service)
Bishops to address their own accountability on sexual abuse (Catholic News Service)
Chilean bishops ask forgiveness for sexual abuses by clergy (Catholic News Service)
Dallas Bishops in Open Conflict on Sex-Abuse Case (Catholic World News)


WEB DATABASE LISTS ACCUSED PRIESTS

Catholic activists said yesterday that they have compiled an Internet database listing the names of 573 US priests who have faced public accusations of child sex abuse since 1996.

The list, assembled by 10 Boston-area Catholics operating as a group called Survivors First, is drawn from US newspaper articles and, in some cases, court documents.

The group decided at the last minute to drop 100 names from its public list, and instead to provide information about where to find newspaper articles about 290 other molestation cases.

Paul Baier, a software entrepreneur who led the project, said his group was "incredibly cautious" about choosing the priests it would name. Survivors First has allegations from victims against 2100 clerics in its files, but is still researching many of the claims, he said.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops, meeting this week to approve a sex abuse policy for the American church, has not undertaken a complete count of molestation cases since victims began going public in 1985.

SOURCE
AP

LINKS
Survivors First | Priest Database



13 Nov 2002