According to reports, the Vatican urged the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to avoid holding any votes to address the decades of sex abuse claims lodged against various churches across the country.
As the committees worked to create the agenda for the conference, an agreement was hammered out to address the sex abuse scandals and the plan was going to be placed before the conference.
But then the Vatican stepped in, according to the Baltimore Sun.
But now, said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the archbishop of Galveston-Houston, the bishops are to consider their discussions this week as an “initial consultation” — an exchange of ideas to be shared with Pope Francis at a previously planned summit between the Holy Father and church leaders, including DiNardo, on Feb. 8 at the Vatican.
“The Holy See has requested that we refrain from voting on these so that our deliberations can inform and be informed by the global meeting of the conference presidents that the Holy Father has called for February 2019,” he said.
Of course, advocates for the victims are disappointed by the move to ignore the abuse scandals once again.
The paper added: “Dave Lorenz, director of the Maryland chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said the decision was ‘a telling example of the problem’ within a church that has long acted far too slowly in dealing with allegations of sex abuse.”
“The bishops need to stand up and do the right thing, but they can’t ever seem to do that without first talking to someone else,” Lorenz added. “You don’t need the Vatican’s permission to do the right thing.”
By some reports, the bishops were saying that they felt the issue was a problem that needed to be addressed. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, for instance, called the ongoing scandals “a moral catastrophe.”
The Rev. Thomas Reese, a Jesuit priest, told the Sun that the refusal to address the crisis is a disaster for the church.
“What a disaster,” Reese said. “What terrible public relations for the pope. Cupich tried to save things by suggesting the bishops repackage [the action items] as recommendations, but the damage is already done.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.