Vatican requests U.S. Catholic bishops to delay vote in sex abuse scandals

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The nation’s Catholic bishops have delayed a vote on steps to increase accountability in the midst of the sexual abuse scandal that has been rocking the church for decades.

Meeting in Baltimore, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops offered an apology Monday.

“Allow me now to address survivors of abuse directly, where I have not been watchful or alert to your needs, wherever I have failed, I am deeply sorry,” Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, the conference president, said.

That apology comes without immediate action. 

Bishops had planned to vote on new accountability standards for church leaders and to establish a commission which would review sexual abuse claims, but the church asked them to delay the vote until after a meeting at the Vatican next year. 

“Although I am disappointed that we’ll not take these actions tomorrow in terms of vote, I remain hopeful this additional consultation will ultimately improve our response to crisis we face,” DiNardo said.

A support group for church sex abuse survivors say it too is disappointed by the delay, and one survivor suggests it might be up to the courts to do what the church has been unable or unwilling to do. 

“They don’t do a very good job of policing themselves,” said Larry Antonsen. “They need to have outside people. I think grand juries in every state would be a good idea with subpoena power.”

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