By Catholic News Service
BALTIMORE – The U.S. bishops gave a standing ovation Nov. 13 to Francesco Cesareo, chairman of the National Review Board, for his report on the widening abuse crisis in the church and his calls for more action from them to address the abuse.
Cesareo, board chairman since 2013, called for broadening the scope of the "Charter on the Protection of Children and Young People" to include bishops. He urged the bishops to take action and continue to move solutions to abuse forward.
Cesareo's report came at the beginning of the second day of the annual fall assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. The day's agenda included discussion of proposals for addressing the abuse crisis but items that a day earlier the Vatican asked they delay voting on.
Those include proposals for "Standards of Episcopal Conduct," a special commission for review of complaints against bishops for violations of "Standards of Episcopal Conduct" and a protocol regarding restrictions on bishops who were removed or who resigned over claims of sexual misconduct made against them or for grave negligence in office.
The bishops were scheduled to hear remarks from Heather Banis, victims assistance coordinator for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and to devote much of the afternoon of Nov. 13 to an open discussion of the crisis.
After the meeting opened Nov. 12, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, USCCB president, announced that the Vatican had requested the bishops not to vote on the action items. The request came from the Vatican Congregation for Bishops.
The reasons given for the delay were Pope Francis' planned meeting in February with the presidents of bishops' conferences worldwide to deal with clergy sex abuse, and to be sure that the proposals being considered by the bishops conform to canon law.
In Rome in response to questions about the request to the bishops to delay voting, Catholic News Service was told the Congregation for Bishops "is working to ensure the best evaluation and accompaniment of the questions raised by the American episcopacy.” Father Massimo Cassola replied to CNS on behalf of Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the congregation.
Outside the hotel, protesters continued to gather to call for change and urge action by the bishops to address the sex abuse crisis.
Contributing to this story were Dennis Sadowski, Carol Zimmermann, Rhina Guidos and Mark Pattison in Baltimore and Cindy Wooden in Rome.