When the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops gather in Baltimore for their Fall Assembly, the organization will celebrate its 100th anniversary. Other than this auspicious commemoration, there will be little cause for jubilation as they convene in November because topping the meeting agenda are some very contentious issues, including immigration and a response to the latest sexual abuse scandal, i.e., going forth how can the Bishops police themselves.
The Bishops’ Administrative Committee outlined actions in a September statement to address the abuse crisis, including approving a third-party confidential reporting system for claims of any abuse by bishops. They also initiated the process of developing a code of conduct for bishops and looking at policies addressing restrictions on bishops who were removed or resigned because of allegations of abuse of minors or adults. A USCCB delegation met with Pope Francis in September whose approval is needed to implement a new reporting system for clergy abuse.
There is no shortage of critics or advice on the urgency for a new course of action to guard against another Theo McCarrick-type scandal. Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich, while not an elected USCCB official, commented during a recent interview that prelates “have to be very clear about an accountability procedure for accusations about bishops.”
To review an “unofficial” summary of the USCCB’s agenda published in Crux, please use this link.
Cardinal Cupich’s remarks are part of an exclusive interview conducted by National Catholic Reporter, Heidi Schlumpf. Please click here to review the interview in its entirety.