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Commission Asks Bishops for Progress Report on Sex Abuse Policy

A National Review Board consisting of 12 prominent lay Roman Catholics and led by Oklahoma Governor Frank A Keating (R), asked all US dioceses to provide full reports detailing their progress since adopting the sexual abuse policy approved at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in June.

The policy requires bishops to remove from ministry any priest who has sexually abused a child and to report the incident to proper authorities. The policy attempts to foster more openness with the public in dealing with cases of sexual abuse; however, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) charged that at least six bishops and nine dioceses continue to work against the policy in order to retain abusive priests in the Church.

The Board, appointed by Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, does not have the authority to remove bishops for noncompliance. However, Gregory emphasized in the New York Times that its power lies in its ability to generate public awareness of the issue, particularly through prominent members, including former Clinton chief-of-staff Leon Panetta.

Sources:

Washington Post 7/31/02; NY Times 7/31/02