Vatican tells US bishops not to vote

The Vatican has told US Catholic bishops not to vote on proposed new steps their Conference has developed to address the clergy sex abuse crisis.

The directive not to vote came from the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, said US Conference of Catholic Bishops president Cardinal Daniel DiNardo.

DiNardo said he was told the evening before this week’s US bishop’s national meeting to delay action until after a Vatican-convened global meeting on sex abuse next February.

“We are not ourselves happy about this,” DiNardo said.

“We are working very hard to move to action — and we’ll do it. I think people in the church have a right to be skeptical. I think they also have a right to be hopeful.”

Another US bishop, Christopher Coyne, said he does not know whether American members of the Congregation for Bishops – Cardinals Blase Cupich and archbishop emeritus Donald Wuerl- played a role in the Vatican directive.

However, a source close to Wuerl doubts he was involved in making the decision.

The proposed new step US bishops were about to vote on were drafted in September by the bishops’ Administrative Committee.

They included developing a new code of conduct for themselves and creating a special commission, including lay experts, to review complaints against bishops.

Although they agreed not to vote on them, the bishops planned to proceed with discussing the proposals during their meeting.

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich suggested they might hold a non-binding vote on the proposals at the current conference meeting and then convene a special assembly for a formal vote after considering the results of the global meeting in February.

“I realise that another meeting will create logistical challenges for the conference staff and the bishops’ schedules, but there is a grave urgency to this matter and we cannot delay,” he said.

While acknowledging their disappointment in the decision from Rome, the bishops affirmed the importance of their own obedience.

DiNardo said they were responsible to be attentive to the Holy Father and his congregations, while Coyne noted bishops are by nature collegial, “so when the Holy See asks us to work in collegiality, that’s what we do.”


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