At the Vatican's insistence, US Catholic bishops abruptly postponed plans Monday to vote on proposed new steps to address the clergy sex abuse crisis roiling the church, per the AP. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said he was told on the eve of the bishop's national meeting to delay action until after a Vatican-convened global meeting on sex abuse in February. The bishops are meeting through Wednesday in Baltimore and had been expected to consider several steps to combat abuse, including a new code of conduct for themselves and the creation of a special commission, including lay experts, to review complaints against the bishops. The bishops plan to proceed with discussing these proposals, with some suggesting the bishops could hold a non-binding vote on the proposals while in Baltimore.
Abuse scandals have roiled the Roman Catholic Church worldwide for decades, but there have been major developments this year in the US. In July, Pope Francis removed DC Archbishop Theodore McCarrick as a cardinal after church investigators said an allegation that he groped a teenage altar boy in the 1970s was credible. Subsequently, several former seminarians and priests reported they too had been abused or harassed by McCarrick. In August, a grand jury report in Pennsylvania detailed decades of abuse and cover-up in six dioceses, alleging more than 1,000 children had been abused over the years by about 300 priests. Since then, a federal prosecutor in Philadelphia has begun working on a federal criminal case centered on child exploitation, and attorneys general in several other states have launched investigations.
(Read more Pope Francis