Abuse cri­sis tops bish­ops’ agenda

U.S. Catholic lead­ers to meet Mon­day in Bal­ti­more.

The Times-Tribune - - LOCAL / NATION - BY DAVID CRARY

As U.S. Catholic bish­ops gather for their na­tional as­sem­bly this week, the clergy sex abuse cri­sis dom­i­nates their agenda amid calls from crit­ics that church lead­ers fi­nally bring about mean­ing­ful re­forms to root out mis­be­hav­ing priests.

The three-day as­sem­bly that starts Mon­day in Bal­ti­more comes af­ter a se­ries of abuse scan­dals this year that have been stun­ning in their mag­ni­tude and num­ber.

Bish­ops have sev­eral re­forms un­der con­sid­er­a­tion to craft a stronger response to the scan­dals, but some Catholic ac­tivists are de­mand­ing fur­ther steps, in­clud­ing re­leas­ing the names of all clergy ac­cused of abuse and giv­ing a greater voice to abuse vic­tims. One coali­tion of con­cerned Catholics, the 5 The­ses move­ment, plans to post its pro­pos­als for re­form on church doors in Bal­ti­more and else­where to­day.

The abuse cri­sis is fore­most among sev­eral chal­lenges con­fronting Catholic lead­ers, who face con­flict­ing pres­sures on the role of women and LGBT peo­ple in the church. And even though the Catholic pop­u­la­tion in the U.S. has been grow­ing, most Catholics at­tend Mass rarely, and the num­ber of ac­tive priests and nuns con­tin­ues to de­cline.

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