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U.S. bishops will consider several actions for combating sex abuse. But will Pope Francis get in the way again?

Jun 12, 2019

By Julie Zauzmer and Michelle Boorstein

On the first day of a high-pressure meeting for the Catholic Church in the United States, the bishops who lead the church debated questions about whether the church’s approach to combating sexual abuse will be adequate.

“We find ourselves at a turning point, a critical moment in our history which will determine in many ways the future vibrancy of the church and whether or not trust in your leadership can be restored,” Francesco Cesareo, chair of the church’s National Review Board appointed to oversee abuse complaints, told the bishops as their meeting began. After listening to the opening hours of discussion, Cesareo said in an interview that these bishops face a steep climb to reform the church. “You can have all the policies you want, but without that culture change — there has to be a recognition of co-responsibility … not a sense of opposition,” he warned.

The bishops are reeling from a difficult year for the church, with sex scandals involving high-up bishops revealed and criminal investigations opened in states nationwide.

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