Monday, June 23, 2003

I am trying to figure out what the bishops did on Friday and Saturday, which is challenging since I was out of the news loop those days, not to speak of the fact that the bishops were meeting in closed sessions with no press conferences.

Seems to me what basically happened on the abuse front is that bishops ironed out their problems with the abuse survey, generously decided to allow both surveys (of past abuse, and how dioceses are implementing the Charter) to continue and....what else?

One concluding article.

Another one.

And from Michael Paulson of the Globe:

On Thursday, they met in private with members of a church-appointed national review board to discuss concerns some bishops had about a study the board is doing on the historic scope and nature of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests. Both bishops and board members said after the discussion that they are now confident that most, if not all, bishops will cooperate with the study, which is scheduled to be released by January.

On Friday, again in private, the bishops held a daylong "prayerful reflection" on issues that might form the basis for a plenary council, an extraordinary gathering of bishops, priests, and laypeople to discuss the state of the church in the United States. The bishops are divided over whether such a council would be helpful and plan to continue their discussion during a retreat in Denver next June.

Yesterday, Archbishop Harry J. Flynn of St. Paul and Minneapolis gave a report to the bishops in an open session yesterday in which he declared that much progress has been made over the year since the bishops met in Dallas and vowed to remove all abusive priests from ministry and to recommit the church to protecting children from sexual abuse.

Flynn, chairman of the bishops' ad hoc committee on sexual abuse, called the abuse scandal "perhaps the worst crisis in the history of the church in our country" and said that despite a "monumental effort" at change, "there is still a long road ahead of us."

Flynn said that, over the last year, "several hundred priests" have been removed from ministry because they had abused minors, "and this has been very, very painful."