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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane’s Bishop Daly doubles down on criticism of Vatican after order to hold off on internal reforms

Thomas Daly, Bishop of the Diocese of Spokane, attends the Walk for Life Northwest, Jan. 28, 2017, in Spokane, Wash. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
From staff reports

Spokane’s bishop doubled down on his criticism of the Vatican on Thursday, saying its decision to bar U.S. dioceses from taking action on the ongoing sexual abuse crisis within the church “could be interpreted as a lack of care and concern for victims and their families.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops gathered this week in Baltimore for its annual fall assembly. Spokane’s bishop, Thomas Daly, and other U.S. bishops had hoped to present and vote on two proposals: the first titled “Code of Conduct for Bishops” and the second a proposal to create a lay commission to investigate claims against bishops. The proposals concern procedures and processes to better handle allegations of sexual misconduct within the clergy.

However, the Vatican issued an order Monday that the USCCB was not to hold binding votes on either proposal.

“As a member of the US Bishop’s Committee for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations I helped review and edit the proposed ‘Code of Conduct for Bishops.’ ” wrote Daly in a news release. “This document is an important step towards renewal and a real commitment by us, your bishops, to act with utmost integrity.”

The document was drafted, at least in part, in answer to anger across the country against the Catholic Church’s handling of sexual assault claims, including recent claims regarding Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, former archbishop of Washington, D.C., and a report from the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office detailing more than 1,000 victims of sexual abuse.

“As a body, the US Bishops must insist not only on accountability for bishops but also for religious superiors and provincials,” Daly wrote. “They too need to be held accountable for any harassment or predatory behavior towards seminarians and professed religious men and women.”

“Please pray for Pope Francis, my brother bishops, and me that we may make progress on bringing about the reforms so desperately needed,” Daly wrote.