Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland in Oregon then proposed an alternative amendment that kept the original wording of the resolution, but to add "recognizing the investigation already underway by the Holy See.
"I think the issue is really the transparency that our people are demanding," he said, in support of the wording on the release of the documents.
Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago said he objected to the ambiguity of the meaning of "release", and asked whether the proposed resolution would end up being more restrictive of the investigation that what the Holy See had originally intended.
"To release all documentation that can be released with canon and civil law? What does that mean?" he said.
"Is the Holy See's investigation more expansive than what this statement allows for?" he added. There may be some conversations or documentation given in confidentiality that the Holy See would release, but that were restricted under canon or civil law, he noted.
Boyea responded that the resolution seemed to "rest on the word 'encourage'...Ultimately it's left to the decision of the Holy See," he said.
"We're making it clear that we want something done; they're going to determine what it is, we're not going to determine what it is."
Proposing a brief amendment, Bishop Peter Christensen of Boise motioned to add the word "soon" in the resolution, "to make it a little more urgent."
Boyea said he didn't think the adding of the word would be "all that helpful," but the amendment passed by a margin of five through a clicker vote.
After the amendment, Cordileone supported Cupich's previous question, and asked for further clarification about what the resolution mean by "releasing" the documents. Boyea again responded that it would ultimately be up the Holy See.
"So we're voting on asking the Holy See to do what they already said they're going to do? The successor of Peter has said he's going to be truthful about this, and it seems to me we need to take his word at it," Cupich said.
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Another amendment to the resolution was then passed without objection, which came from Bishop David Walkowiak of Grand Rapids, who proposed changing the wording from "misconduct" to "allegegations of misconduct against McCarrick."
Walkowiak said he wanted to make sure due process and McCarrick's right to a defense were respected: "The important thing is that they're alleged, they're not proven."
Bishop Salvatore Matano of Rochester then voiced his support for Cupich's objection to the resolution, saying it was redundant to ask the Holy See to do what they have already said they would do.
Bishop Steven Biegler of Cheyenne said he also objected to the ambiguity of the wording of the resolution: "To whom would they be released? What does it mean to release them?"
"This is a statement of distrust" of the Holy See, he added.
Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth also objected to the ambiguity of the resolution and said it was merely a way for the bishops to "appear that we're doing something when in fact, we're not."