Holy See OKs Revised Norms in Sex-Abuse Cases

U.S. Bishops Get a Decree Signed by Cardinal Re

WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 9, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The Congregation for Bishops has granted its “recognition,” its permission to implement, to the U.S. bishops’ revised norms on dealing with clerical sex-abuse allegation.

The Vatican dicastery gave its permission for the “Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons,” adopted by the bishops’ conference last June.

The decree of the congregation, signed by its prefect, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, grants the “recognitio” indefinitely.

The decree, dated Jan. 1, was received by Bishop William Skylstad, president of the episcopal conference, during an April meeting at the Vatican congregation which was part of the annual spring meetings of the officers of the bishops’ conference with the heads of offices of the Holy See.

Bishop Skylstad has issued a decree promulgating the revised “Essential Norms.” They are in force as of next Monday, and bind, as particular church law for the United States, all dioceses and eparchies (dioceses of the Eastern Catholic Church) of the U.S. bishops’ conference.

A document containing essential norms was first adopted by the U.S. conference in June 2002, and was subject to revision by a mixed commission made up of representatives of the Holy See and members of the episcopal conference.

The result of the mixed commission’s work was the original Essential Norms which were adopted by the U.S. conference in November 2002. They received the required “recognition” by the Congregation for Bishops on Dec. 8, 2002, and were promulgated by the then conference president four days later.

A side-by-side comparison of the 2002 and 2006 norms appears at www.usccb.org/ocyp/2005RevisedEssentialNormsComparison.pdf.

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