U.S. Catholic bishops hold spiritual retreat against backdrop of abuse scandal. In parallel, details emerged about a halted package of measures against sexual abuse. In the middle of it all the Vatican.
At the request of Pope Francis, the U.S. bishops are retiring to a Chicago archdiocesan seminary from this Wednesday through next Tuesday to reflect on the causes and consequences of clergy sexual abuse. The retreat will be led by the papal homilist Raniero Cantalamessa.
Just before it began, there was new speculation about a set of measures against abuse, for which the Vatican had asked the U.S. bishops in November for a delay.
According to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, more than 200 of the total 271 active and 185 emeritus bishops plan to attend. No discussion of abuse investigations is planned, a spokeswoman for the Chicago archdiocese said in late December, according to media reports. The meeting at Mundelein Seminary north of Chicago was "strictly a time for prayer, fasting and spiritual discourse".
Details of the stop of catalogue of measures
Meanwhile, details emerged about a postponed package of measures by the U.S. bishops against sexual abuse. On the day of the planned vote on the action plan at the fall meeting of the Bishops' Conference, its president Cardinal Daniel DiNardo had surprisingly suspended the procedure.
In justification, DiNardo said the Vatican, in a statement ied the day before, 11. November, letter delivered asked to wait for February international abuse meeting in Rome.
However, as can be seen from an excerpt of the letter now circulating on social media, the prefect of the Roman Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, already turned on 6. November against the U.S. bishops' planned resolutions. There were also reportedly canonical objections to the action plan on the part of the Vatican.
Controversies within the bishops' conference
Originally slated for a lay commission to investigate diocesan investigation of abuse cases and a new code of conduct for U.S. bishops. The latter point led to controversy within the bishops' conference.
For the 21. to 24. February, Pope Francis convened the leaders of bishops' conferences worldwide to the Vatican to discuss consequences of the abuse scandal.