WASHINGTON - James Rogers, Chief Communications Officer for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued the following statement today in response to Wounded Shepherd.
“Austen Ivereigh’s new book, Wounded Shepherd, perpetuates an unfortunate and inaccurate myth that the Holy Father finds resistance among the leadership and staff of the U.S. Bishops Conference. The author disparages the General Secretary and a consultant to the Committee on Canonical Affairs particularly by suggesting they drew up documents in October that were then deliberately excluded from Rome. This is false and misleading.
In August, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo began convening bishops for consultations on measures to strengthen the already effective protection program enacted through the Dallas Charter. By early September, those consultations had crystalized in the form of drafts emerging under the direction of the Executive Committee and with the collaboration of the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, and the Committee on Child and Youth Protection, supported by the Secretariat of Doctrine and the Office of General Counsel.
It was intended that the proposals stop short of where the authority of the Holy See began. For example, like the Charter before it, the lay commission was based on the voluntary participation of bishops, compiling substantial reports of abuse to be delivered directly to the Apostolic Nuncio in the United States with due regard to civilly mandated reporting laws. While informal consultations with the Holy See took place in October, it was envisioned that the Holy See would have an opportunity to review and offer adjustments only on those drafts benefiting from the input of the full body of U.S. bishops, recognizing that substantial amendments could yet take place.
Cardinal DiNardo’s decision to delay the vote on these proposals in November of 2018 is a clear sign of his and his brother bishops’ collaboration with and obedience to the Holy Father. When Pope Francis announced the new universal Church law establishing a worldwide program of protection, Cardinal DiNardo strongly supported the measures and moved quickly to ensure the Conference’s proposals would be both ready for votes in June of this year and would be complementary to the Holy Father’s own program. The June agenda moved forward without the objection of the Holy See. Because of the decisive actions of Pope Francis and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Church is a safer place for children and adults in vulnerable situations.”
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