The Vatican blocked US bishops from taking measures to address the clergy sex abuse scandal because US church leaders failed to sufficiently consult with the Holy See beforehand about legally problematic proposals, according to a letter obtained by the AP. The Nov. 11 letter from the Vatican's Cardinal Marc Ouellet provides the primary reason that Rome balked at the measures that were to be voted on by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops at its Nov. 12-14 assembly. The blocked vote stunned abuse survivors and other Catholics who were demanding action from US bishops to address clergy sex abuse and cover-up. Ouellet's letter undermines the version of events provided by the conference president, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo.
It could also provide fodder for questions during a spiritual retreat of US bishops, dedicated to the abuse crisis, that opens Wednesday in Chicago. They may want to know why the draft proposals from the US only arrived at the Vatican on Nov. 8, four days before the US bishops' meeting began. While the Vatican is known for its slow pace, even the speediest bureaucracy would have found it difficult to review and approve sensitive legal documents over a long weekend. "Considering the nature and scope of the documents being proposed by the (conference), I believe it would have been beneficial to have allowed for more time to consult with this and other congregations with competence over the ministry and discipline of bishops," Ouellet wrote to DiNardo. Click for the full story. (Or see what the Pope says about "vicious wolves.")