BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Welcomed to Baltimore by protestors Tuesday on the waterfront, 300 of the nation’s bishops met inside the Marriott Hotel for the second day under the spotlight of the church’s sex abuse scandal.
Monday, the Pope asked that the bishops delay a formal vote on measures aimed at dealing with the church’s sex abuse crisis.
But Catholic leaders said even without a vote, the issue is still at the forefront this week.
Protestors came and went holding signs, some sharing stories of survivorship, others reading, “Truth,” or “Reform,” making it clear the church’s ever-unfolding sex abuse scandal will be the focus of their annual conference, despite the Vatican’s request to delay the vote.
“I think the bishops are keenly aware of the need to do something here,” said Archbishop William Lori with the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
What exactly that will be is still the question. Archbishop Lori said the Catholic leaders may opt to pass a resolution rather than take the formal vote that they had planned.
He said there is strong support for new standards of conduct, establishing an independent body to review bishops and creating protocols for bishops removed for either misconduct or mishandling abuse claims.
“Any measure that we do to bring about healing must first and foremost be done with the survivors in mind,” Lori said.
The bishops’ convention coincides with ongoing investigations in DC and in 13 states- including Maryland, sparked by a 900-page report from a Pennsylvania grand jury in August that revealed hundreds of predator priests who molested more than 1,000 victims over seven decades.
It named Baltimore’s late Cardinal William Keller as one of the priests who knew of the widespread sex abuse and failed to report it. He said he was aware of at least two cases and still allowed one of the accused priests to follow him to Baltimore.
Archbishop Lori said there are some bishops who would support doing a formal vote, despite the Pope’s request, including himself.