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US abuser priests face "voluntary or forced laicisation"


CNS carries a comprehensive report on what Archbishop Harry Flynn told the American Bishops at their meeting last week. Priests who abuse minors "should undergo voluntary or forced laicisation" except in cases of advanced age or infirmity.

Archbishop Flynn, chairman of the bishops' Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse, delivered a report on the issue on the final day of the bishops' June 19-21 national meeting in St. Louis.

The meeting also featured a half-day closed session June 19 at which the bishops discussed the goals and methodology of a national survey being conducted in all dioceses by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York to determine the extent of clergy sexual abuse of children in the U.S. church since 1950. They also spent a day reflecting on some of the major issues in the U.S. church that they see as underlying the sexual abuse crisis.

Archbishop Flynn said the bishops were facing "perhaps the worst crisis in the history of the church in our country" at their watershed meeting last June in Dallas, where they adopted a child protection charter and began the process of establishing legally binding norms for the removal of all abusive priests.

"Since that historic meeting last year, a monumental effort has been made to fulfill the promises of that charter, to implement measures that would remove offending clergy, to reach out to those so terribly injured by sexual abuse and to restore the trust and confidence of our people and our priests," he said.

"We do not take too much comfort in that," he added. "There is still a long road ahead of us."

SOURCE – FULL STORY:
CNS

EARLIER REPORTS:
CathNews: US Bishops' meet amidst continuing challenges
NY Times: What's going on in the Church? Behind the Keating resignation...
Reuters: Bishops Defend Response to Abuse Scandal
Newsday: Turmoil Continues
NY Post: Healing the Church (Opinion piece)
Chicago Sun Times: George fights virus but keeps working
Zenit: Keating's Letter of Resignation and Bishop Gregory's response

27 Jun 2003