Baltimore, Md., Nov 12, 2018 / 08:34 am
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo opened the fall assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) with a speech calling for bishops to avoid the two temptations of “despair and presumption” as they address the sexual abuse scandals facing the Church.
In his opening speech, given as president of the USCCB, DiNardo said that the Church must rely on “trusting faith,” and “living memory” as it seeks to support victims of abuse and to reassure the faithful.
DiNardo’s address was clearly amended to account for the surprise announcement that the Holy See had blocked the bishops from voting on two key proposals.
Shortly before his speech, the cardinal told the hall that he had been instructed by Rome that the U.S. bishops were not to vote on a proposed new set of standards for episcopal conduct or on the creation of a new lay-led body to investigate episcopal misconduct. Instead, the American bishops have been told to wait until after a special meeting of the presidents of the world’s bishops’ conferences called by Pope Francis for February.
Despite the sudden change to the conference agenda, DiNardo said that the American bishops take the abuse crisis seriously.
“We remain committed to the program of episcopal accountability. Votes will not take place, but we will move forward,” DiNardo told attendees.
Addressing survivors in the first person, the Archbishop of Galveston-Houston said, “I am deeply sorry.”
“In our weakness we fell asleep,” he said, while calling for a renewed vigilance, both against abuse and against paralysis in the face of recent scandals.