Bishops in crisis meetings over child sex abuse

 Catholic bishops around the world are meeting this week to discuss the issue of child sex abuse. In Rome, twelve American cardinals and a number of bishops are due to begin two days of formal talks with Vatican officials today on the issue. They have already held private talks with the Pope. The Cardinals are: the Archbishop of Boston, Bernard Law, the Archbishop of Philadelphia, Anthony Bevilacqua, the Archbishop of New York, Edward Egan, the Archbishop of Chicago, Francis George, the Archbishop of Baltimore, William Keeler, the Archbishop of Los Angeles, Roger Mahony, the Archbishop of Detroit, Adam Maida,. the Archbishop of Washington DC, Cardinal James Aloysius Hickey, Archbishop emeritus of Washington, Theodore McCarrick and Cardinal Avery Dulles. American Cardinals of the Curia present will be: Cardinal William Wakefield Baum, Archbishop emeritus of Washington, Major Penitentiary emeritus. Cardinal Edmund Casimir Szoka, Archbishop emeritus of Detroit and President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and Cardinal James Francis Stafford, Archbishop emeritus of Denver and President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. America's most senior cardinal, the Archbishop of Boston Bernard Law, is under growing pressure to resign after acknowledging that he transferred a priest to another parish despite knowing of sexual misconduct allegations against him. More than 400 complaints have been lodged against priests in the Boston diocese alone. Accusations of child molestation have also been made in at least 16 other US dioceses including Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco. While the American church has been hardest hit by sex abuse allegations, similar scandals have hit clergy in several other countries, including Austria, Germany, Ireland, Poland, France and Australia. The bishops of all 26 dioceses in Ireland are meeting at St Patrick's College in Maynooth, to discuss how the internal enquiry into child sex abuse is to be carried out. Earlier this month the Bishop of Ferns resigned following criticism over his handling of sex abuse allegations. The investigation into allegations of child sex abuse will go back more than 60 years and will be carried out by lay people who are experts in child protection and legislation. Bishops in Germany are also meeting at a Bavarian monastery to discuss national guidelines to tackle the problem. Until now, it has been left to each diocese to tackle the issue.

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