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Vatican tells US bishops to get over sex abuse

Vatican officials are urging US bishops in Rome for their ad limina visit to move beyond the sex abuse crisis and restore their focus to the wider range of pastoral and international issues.

On Monday, Congregation for the Clergy head Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos told the bishops it is important to keep the sex abuse cases in perspective.

"He placed great emphasis on affirming the value of priests in our dioceses," said Georgia Bishop Kevin Boland. "He said that with the recent scandal, it could be very easy to lose sight of the fact that the great majority of priests were working faithfully."

"Cardinal Castrillon said we've got to be positive about the priesthood and that we can't allow our dioceses to be paralysed by the (sex abuse) crisis," Bishop Boland said.

At the Congregation for Bishops on Tuesday, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re asked bishops to support their clergy in the wake of the sex abuses cases, saying they've all been wounded by the scandal.

"The cardinal wanted us to know his solidarity with us but also encouraged us to reach out to our priests, because our priests are hurting," said Florida Bishop Thomas Wenski.

Archbishop John Favalora of Miami said one Vatican cardinal reminded the bishops that the US church has a strong leadership role in the world and has much to offer. That's a perspective the bishops need to hear after focusing almost exclusively on the sex abuse crisis, Archbishop Favalora said.

Vatican officials ask U.S. bishops to focus on wider pastoral issues (Catholic News Service 31/3/04)

US Conference of Catholic Bishops

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2 Apr 2004