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No. 11- 5:30 PM 6/17 MP
Bishops agree to remove sex offenders from ministry

No. 10- 8:00 PM 6/16 TF/TR
Bishops urged, in a most unusual morning, to press for reforms beyond sex abuse policy

No. 9- 11:00 AM 6/14 TR
Bishops urged, in a most unusual morning, to press for reforms beyond sex abuse policy

No. 8- 9:15 AM 6/14 MP
Bishops issue ‘profound apology,’ hear victims’ stories, strong calls for reform

No. 7- 9:00 PM 6/14 TF
NCR Editor Tom Roberts assesses Dallas meeting on “News Hour”

No. 6- 1:45 PM 6/13 TF
Bishops caught in the middle as meeting opens

No. 5- 10:00 AM 6/13 TR
Serious questions for wider church loom after Dallas meeting

No. 4- 9:45 AM 6/13 TR
For victim leader Clohessy, years of work lead to 15 minutes before the bishops

No. 2- 11:00 AM 6/12 TF
U.S. bishops, facing church division, lack authority to set U.S. course

No. 1- 4:35 PM 6/11 TF
Cardinal lashes out against U.S. media as it prepares for Dallas

Posted 4:30 P.M. CST Wednesday, June 12, 2002
Number 3

Arriving in Dallas, bishops greeted with more bad news

NCR Publisher

Some 300 U.S. bishops, arriving in Dallas today for their most important meeting as a national conference, were greeted to a front page story in The Dallas Morning News that claims roughly two-thirds of their top leaders have allowed priests accused of sexual abuse to remain in their active ministries.

The report was the result of a three-month Dallas Morning News review of all the U.S. dioceses and the bishops who lead them. A bishops’ spokesman, according to the article, did not dispute the results of the study.

The report depicts a broad pattern of episcopal complicity in the deployment of accused priests within the U.S. church. Consistent patterns of this complicity have been in place at least since reports first began to surface of clergy sex abuse and episcopal cover-up in the mid- 1980s.

The bishops are in Dallas to debate a draft policy statement on abuse that focuses on past and future wayward priests. However, it ignores the bishops’ roles in concealing or enabling the actions of such priests and offers no guidelines for sanctioning such bishops.

Meanwhile, an ABC poll released today shows the overall approval ratings of the Catholic church in America on the decline. Favorable opinions have dropped from 63 percent in February to 47 percent now, the poll found. Furthermore, 73 percent of all Americans disapprove of the way the bishops are handling the scandal, up 14 percent since the cardinals met in Rome in late April.

Among Catholics, 63 percent disapprove of the bishops’ handling of the crisis.

The poll also found that Catholics are equally likely to reject the suggestion, included in the draft the bishops will consider, that one-time priest abusers be allowed to continue in their ministries. Eighty-two percent of Americans, including 81 percent of Catholics, say that such men should be expelled automatically from the priesthood.

The Morning News review found that at least 111 of the nation's 178 Roman-rite Catholic dioceses are headed by men who have protected accused priests or other church figures, such as brothers in religious orders, candidates for the priesthood, teachers, and youthgroup workers. Eight of the 111 are cardinals in U.S. archdioceses.

The study did not include about 100 other members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, most of whom serve in supporting roles but can vote this week in Dallas.

The 111 bishops’ complicity took many forms, from ignoring warnings about suspicious behavior to keeping priests on the job after admissions of wrongdoing, diagnoses of sexual disorders, legal settlements, and even criminal convictions, the News study found.

The paper quoted Fr. Francis Maniscalco, a bishops’ spokesman, as expressing no surprise at the numbers. “Why should anybody’s feet be held to the fire?" he asked. “The bishops made what they thought were prudent decisions at the time. The decisions were made on the best advice available.”