A meeting of Catholic bishops in Baltimore last weekend concluded without any action on holding themselves accountable regarding the clergy sex abuse scandal.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was considering measures that would have established (1) a lay commission to receive complaints against bishops and (2) a code of conduct that would be the first such ethical guidelines for bishops on sex abuse. But hours before the gathering, top Vatican officials called to insist the bishops not take any action.
David Clohessy of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests was disappointed but not surprised. "To be honest, we in SNAP were not thrilled with measures that U.S. bishops were proposing," he tells OneNewsNow. "Still, some progress beats no progress – and by everybody's measure this meeting ends with no progress."
Rome didn't specify a reason for its intervention, but Clohessy says there's another meeting early next year.
"Clearly the pope has some misgivings about what U.S. bishops wanted to do," he acknowledges, "and supposedly he's putting all of his eggs in one basket: this meeting coming up in February in Rome."
Clohessy contends the bishops don't need permission from Rome or even the USCCB to start the reform that clearly needs to happen.
"Right now every bishop in America could box up his files on clergy sex crimes and walk them over to the DA's office and say Here, take a look. Every bishop could post on his website the names of proven, admitted, and credibly accused child molesters," he states.
In that regard, even SNAP appears to be looking in the wrong direction. Court records and multiple studies say 80 percent of the victims of Catholic clergy abuse are teenage boys and men. It's not primarily a child abuse scandal – according to a new study, it's a homosexual priest scandal.