Bishop Skylstad Points to Conference's Priorities

WASHINGTON, D.C., NOV. 18, 2004 ( The U.S. bishops’ conference newly elected president says its priorities include helping victims of sexual abuse and preventing other young people from being similarly exploited.

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Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane, Washington, at a news conference Wednesday, said: «Among our priorities, we bishops will continue to build on the steps we have taken for more than a decade, especially the Charter and the Norms adopted in 2002.»

He added: «The experience of the victims and of my own diocese and of every diocese has made clear the long-term effects of this abuse even if it occurred two or three decades ago.»

Bishop Skylstad was elected Tuesday to a three-year term. He succeeds Bishop Wilton Gregory of Belleville, Illinois.

In the voting, Bishop Skylstad received 120 votes. The No. 2 vote-getter was Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, who subsequently was elected vice president of the episcopate.

At the news conference, Bishop Skylstad added: «Reflecting the long history of the conference both before and since the Second Vatican Council, we bishops are asking how we can make the Church’s voice more effective in advocating for public policies which promote the common good.»

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