April 20, 2006

Abuse audits reveal authority clash of bishops and bishops conference

Catholic Online

By Tom McFeely
National Catholic Register (www.ncregister.com/)

WASHINGTON (National Catholic Register) – A recent clash over abuse audits raises the question of the authority of individual bishops on the one hand and bishops’ conferences on the other.

TheAbuse Tracker Review Board is made up of lay people appointed by the U.S. bishops conference. The board is responsible for overseeing annual audits of U.S. dioceses and eparchies, assessing their compliance with the provisions of the U.S. bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The Diocese of Lincoln, Neb., and the Melkite Eparchy of Newton, Mass., both declined to participate in last year’s audits.

In her foreword to the 2005 report on the result of the audits, which was released in late March, Patricia O’Donnell Ewers, theAbuse Tracker Review Board chairwoman, called for “strong fraternal correction” of Lincoln Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz and Melkite Archbishop Cyrille Bustros over their refusal to participate.

Said Ewers, “Though their governance authority is fully understood by the board, nonetheless, these refusals go against all of the efforts of the church to be open and transparent in addressing child protection and reaching out to victims to help with their healing.”

Bishop Bruskewitz released a sharply worded response March 31.

Posted by kshaw at April 20, 2006 05:09 PM