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Last November members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) met as a body for the annual meeting and they were on the verge of voting on a series of resolutions to show that they were at last taking the sexual abuse crisis seriously. The voting was dramatically halted at the request of the Vatican which was planning its own summit on sex abuse in Rome. Three months after the Vatican's conference the bishops are under pressure to pass those stalled resolutions at the summit in Baltimore this June. Nearly 300 members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are assembling for three days in order to address issues of their own accountability on matters of sex abuse.
The goal of this meeting in Baltimore is to complete what they started six months ago in a similar meeting and to establish the protocols they will use to hold themselves accountable for sexual misconduct and for responding appropriately to reports of misconduct by others. Clergy sex abuse crisis has shaken the Catholic church to the core. This misconduct has been going on for so long without adequate reaction from the Church, that this month's meeting is seen as a now-or-never proposition.
“It’s awful, but the [U.S.] bishops have lost the benefit of the doubt,” said John Carr, founding director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life, a think tank at Georgetown University, as The Baltimore Sun reports. “They have to demonstrate by their actions that they can begin to restore trust. Are they capable of holding themselves accountable? They have to. People’s faith is being tested. The voice of the church in public life is being hurt. This meeting in Baltimore will be a test as to whether they understand those challenges.”
It is expected from this meeting to show some improvement in the Church's handling of the sex abuse crisis but an interesting thing is that the meeting in Baltimore is expected to be chaired by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the current president of the USCCB. DiNardo is accused of not doing enough to stop a priest in his doicese who has been accused of abuse. DiNardo is also under allegations that he was slow to respond to a report of a sexual relationship between a priest and a female parishioner. It seems that a man who allegedly mishandled sex abuse cases is going to lead the meeting that is supposed to solve the problem of those sex abuse cases of mishandling in the Church.