Pope Bars Bishops From Action On Clergy Sexual Abuse

From the National Catholic Reporter:

The plenary meeting of the Unites States Conference of Catholic Bishops opened with a bombshell. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the conference, announced that the Holy See had insisted the U.S. bishops not vote on any concrete action items regarding the clergy sex abuse crisis, pending the February meeting of the presidents of all episcopal conferences that Pope Francis has announced. DiNardo said he only learned last night of the Vatican’s decision.

What is going on? People were whispering that the pope should not have intervened, certainly not at such a late date. Is this a case of Rome not grasping the situation in the U.S. or, more worrisome, that Rome still doesn’t grasp the enormity of the sex abuse mess? There are two meta-narratives competing to become the overarching frame for the bishops’ response to the sex abuse mess, the “blame the gays” narrative we saw at First Things and on EWTN in recent weeks, or the clerical culture narrative.

NBC News reports:

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 to review complaints against the bishops.

At their meeting, which continues through Wednesday, the bishops may proceed with discussions of these proposals, which were drafted in September by the bishops’ Administrative Committee. But there will be no immediate vote.

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, of Chicago, suggested that the bishops hold a special assembly in March to vote on the measures after considering the results of the global meeting in February.