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Bishops propose firing pedophile priests

Bishops propose firing pedophile priests

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- United States Roman Catholic bishops' proposed rules for disciplining clergymen accused of sexually abusing children include recommended dismissal in certain cases.

According to a draft report to be issued Tuesday, the recommendations include defrocking priests who abuse minors in the future as well as those who have molested more than one child previously.

Bishops are to consider the report, prepared by a panel of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, when they meet next week at a conference in Dallas, Texas.

The report does not completely endorse a zero-tolerance policy.

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 Proposal highlights
Remove priests who abuse in the future, or have abused more than once in the past

Allow priests who have committed an abuse once in the past to remain in the ministry with counseling

Dioceses are to report any accusation of sexual abuse of a person who is a minor to the proper authorities and cooperate in the investigation


It would allow priests and bishops to retain their rank if clerics have only one offense, have not been diagnosed as pedophiles and have had clean records since the single offense.

This proposal relies on the pope's guidance to trust in the power of "conversion" of those who have sinned. Nevertheless, a diocesan review board must examine a priest's ministerial status.

Among the proposals for disciplinary action:

  • A clergyman's diocese will report to authorities any accusation of sexual abuse of a minor, and will cooperate in any investigation.
  • If a complaint is affirmed by investigation, officials in the clergyman's diocese will promptly relieve the alleged offender of his ministerial powers.
  • If the plan is implemented, clergymen are to be on notice that any act of sexual abuse from then on will bring about a request for laicization, or revocation of ministerial powers. Such action still would permit the church worker lay privileges such as assisting priests.
  • Regarding acts against a minor previous to the adoption of the plan, a request for laicization will be issued if a clergyman is found to be a pedophile or has committed more than one act of sexual abuse of a minor.
  • In a move apparently meant to quell complaints that church officials moved some priests from parish to parish despite abuse allegations, the report calls for a review of a priest's record before he is transferred.




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