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U.S. Catholic bishops postpone vote on how to deal with clergy sex abuse crisis – National

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U.S. Catholic bishops abruptly postponed plans Monday to vote on proposed new steps to address the clergy sex abuse crisis roiling the church at the Vatican’s insistence.


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Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said he was told on the eve of the bishop’s national meeting to delay action until after a Vatican-convened global meeting on sex abuse in February.

“We are not ourselves happy about this,” DiNardo told reporters in an unusual public display of frustration at a Vatican pronouncement.

“We are working very hard to move to action — and we’ll do it,” he said. “I think people in the church have a right to be skeptical. I think they also have a right to be hopeful.”

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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, including lay experts, to review complaints against the bishops.

The bishops plan to proceed with discussing these proposals, which were drafted in September by the bishops’ Administrative Committee. Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, of Chicago, suggested the bishops could hold a non-binding vote on the proposals while in Baltimore and then convene a special assembly for a formal vote after considering the results of the global meeting in February.

“I realize that another meeting will create logistical challenges for the conference staff and the bishops’ schedules, but there is a grave urgency to this matter and we cannot delay,” Cupich said.


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Abuse scandals have roiled the Roman Catholic Church worldwide for decades, but there have been major developments this year in the U.S.

In July, Pope Francis removed U.S. church leader Theodore McCarrick as a cardinal after church investigators said an allegation that he groped a teenage altar boy in the 1970s was credible. Subsequently, several former seminarians and priests reported they too had been abused or harassed by McCarrick as adults, triggering debate over who might have known and covered up McCarrick’s misconduct.

In August, a grand jury report in Pennsylvania detailed decades of abuse and cover-up in six dioceses, alleging more than 1,000 children had been abused over the years by about 300 priests. Since then, a federal prosecutor in Philadelphia has begun working on a federal criminal case centered on child exploitation, and attorneys general in several other states have launched investigations.

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DiNardo, in his address opening the bishops’ assembly, told survivors of clergy abuse he was “deeply sorry.”

“Some would say this is entirely a crisis of the past. It is not,” DiNardo said. “We must never victimize survivors over again by demanding they heal on our timeline.”

After DiNardo’s address, the bishops adjourned to a chapel for a daylong session of prayer that includes remarks by two survivors of clergy abuse who have worked to promote healing and reconciliation among other victims.


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“Please understand the heart of the church is broken and you need to fix this now,’” Luis A. Torres Jr. told the bishops. “You were not called to be CEOs… You were not called to be princes. Be the priests that you were called to be. Please act now. Be better. Be good.”

Outside the conference hall, news of the delay in voting angered some protesters who were demanding the bishops take strong action against abuse.

“I know that they answer to the Holy See, but there’s a bigger imperative here, which is that children and victims need them to step forward,” said Anne Barrett Doyle, who works at the abuse database BishopAccountability.org. “By complying so meekly with what the pope has demanded of them today, they are surrendering their responsibility.”

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Liz McCloskey, part of a coalition of concerned Catholics called the 5 Theses movement that has posted its proposals for reform on church doors in Baltimore and other cities, said the stakes couldn’t be higher. She said Catholics were “leaving in droves” in the absence of significant reforms and full transparency.

“Delaying taking any action in response to the sex abuse scandal is not only a public relations nightmare but a moral failing,” McCloskey told The Associated Press.

Her group’s proposals for the bishops include cooperating fully with investigations and releasing names of credibly accused clergy, committing to shedding regalia and living simply, and asking Pope Francis to put women in leadership posts.


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DiNardo said the bishops didn’t complete a final draft of their proposed anti-abuse actions until Oct. 30 and the Vatican, with relatively short notice, sought to delay voting because of potential legal complications.

Nonetheless, John Gehring, the Catholic program director at a Washington-based clergy network called Faith in Public Life, said the Vatican “just made a big mistake.”

“The optics are terrible, and it sends a message, intended or not, that Rome doesn’t recognize the urgency of the moment,” Gehring tweeted .



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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu
RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA

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Harris accepts VP nomination

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Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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