More than 250 U.S. bishops arrived during the weekend in Denver for the USCCB spring retreat at the Inverness Hotel that will run from Monday afternoon to Saturday.
Despite being billed as a retreat, during the first two days at the meeting the bishops will discuss some aspects of the 2002 "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People." In particular, they will discuss whether to authorize annual reviews of U.S. dioceses that would establish whether or not they are in compliance with the Charter.
The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) held its yearly Conference in Denver this past weekend to put pressure on the bishops. In a statement, SNAP not only demands the reviews to take place each year –with the tremendous effort in personnel and money they require for each diocese--but also that bishops appoint to the National Review Board a prosecutor with sex-crimes experience, at least one SNAP member and at least one representative from the lay group Voice of the Faithful.
“Voice of the Faithful” is an organization that demands the Catholic Church ordain women, make priestly celibacy optional, declare abortion and artificial contraception as “moral,” bless homosexual unions and allow divorced Catholics to receive communion and re-marry in the Church.
Sergio Gutierrez, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Denver, said bishops remain committed to fulfilling the promises made in Dallas two years ago. “No matter what the bishops do, SNAP is not going to be satisfied,” Gutierrez said.
After Tuesday, when a press conference could take place, the bishops will go back to the original retreat spirit, during which they will discuss on the role of Catholics in public life, as well as the possibility of holding a Plenary Council.
A Plenary Council is a meeting that allows broader discussions on the renewal of the Catholic Church and would involve the whole episcopate.
The last Plenary Council took place more than 100 years ago in Baltimore.