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Sex Abuse Review Panel Accuses Catholic Bishops of Stalling

The panel of prominent lay Catholics charged with investigating the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church has accused US bishops of stalling on important actions and reneging on promises. The review panel this week made public letters between members of the panel (the National Review Board) and various bishops. At issue is the fact that key bishops are working to delay until November a second audit of dioceses to determine how well they are complying with measures to protect children from sexual abuse established under the provisions of the 2002 Dallas “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.” Members of the panel have also expressed their concern that, to prevent the information from becoming public knowledge, they were not notified of the possible delay before a major press conference they held at the end of February, Reuters reports. “We are very disheartened by this apparent decision to go back to Ôbusiness as usual’,” wrote Anne M. Burke, chair of the National Review Board, in a March 29 letter to US Conference of Catholic Bishops President Wilton M. Gregory. “A decision to backslide on the Charter and Norms – and it is hard to see the decision to delay matters until November as anything else – will delay the necessary healing and reopen the wounds of deception, manipulation and control – all the false ideals that produced this scandal.” Though the audit is now on the agenda for the bishops’ June meeting, Burke and a spokesperson for the bishops said that there was no indication whether it would simply be discussed or whether the audit would be authorized, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Sources:

Reuters 5/12/04; LA Times 5/12/04; Burke letter 3/29/04

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