News and Commentary

The Francis Papacy: Vatican Cancels U.S. Bishops’ Vote On Sex Abuse Reform Measures

The Francis papacy has now been credibly accused of covering up for sexual predators and has further added to that dumpster fire by preventing U.S. bishops from enacting reform measures to curtail the sexual abuse crisis.

According to Catholic News Agency, the U.S. bishops’ conference, under orders from the Vatican, has refrained from voting on a set of proposals to deal with the sex abuse crisis in the Church, a crisis that kicked into high gear this past summer when a Pennsylvania grand jury report showed that 300 predator priests molested victims for a 75-year period and were held to no account by Church hierarchy. At the same time, former D.C. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was credibly accused of sexually abusing minors as well as seminarians in his rise to become one of the most powerful clerics in the United States. The crisis reached an inalterable fever-pitch several weeks later when Archbishop Vigano, the former Nuncio from the Vatican to the United States, accused Pope Francis of lifting previous sanctions that were put in place against Cardinal McCarrick by Pope Benedict, Francis’ predecessor.

“Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference has told the American bishops that they will not vote on two key proposals which had been expected to form the basis for the Church’s response to the sexual abuse crisis,” reports CNA.

The proposals would include an investigative body of competent lay members in good standing with the Catholic Church as well as a new code of conduct for American bishops. Inexplicably, the Holy See ordered a delay on the vote for much-needed measures of reform until February.

“DiNardo said that the Holy See insisted that consideration of the new measures be delayed until the conclusion of a special meeting called by Pope Francis for February,” reports CNA. “That meeting, which will include the presidents of the world’s bishops’ conferences, will address the global sexual abuse crisis.”

DiNardo had been told of the decision late on Sunday, making this an abrupt decision on behalf of the Holy See. CNA profiled the proposals that were on the table:

Ahead of the bishops’ meeting, two documents had been circulated: a draft Standards of Conduct for bishops and a proposal to create a new special investigative commission to handle accusations made against bishops.

These proposals had been considered to be the bishops’ best chance to produce a substantive result during the meeting, and signal to the American faithful that they were taking firm action in the face of a series of scandals which have rocked the Church in the United States over recent months.

Speaking before the conference session had even been called to order, DiNardo told the bishops he was clearly “disappointed” with Rome’s decision. The cardinal said that, despite the unexpected intervention by Rome, he was hopeful that the Vatican meeting would prove fruitful and that its deliberations would help improve the American bishops’ eventual measures.

“It is clear the Holy See is taking the abuse crisis seriously,” Cupich said, even though it is clear that the Holy See is not taking the abuse crisis seriously.

Cupich suggested that, in the meantime, the American prelates go about educating the laity that the bishops are busy addressing their concerns.

“We need to be very clear with [DiNardo] where we stand, and be clear with our people where we stand,” Cupich said, noting that the vote “is something we cannot delay, there is an urgency here.”