Sex abuse crisis at highest levels of U.S. Catholic church to dominate agenda at bishops' meeting in Baltimore

By Jonathan M. Pitts, The Baltimore Sun

The nation’s Catholic bishops will gather in Baltimore this week against the backdrop of a sexual-abuse crisis that has reached the highest levels of the church in the United States.

After a year in which a Pennsylvania grand jury report revealed that hundreds of “predator priests” molested more than 1,000 children over seven decades and a U.S. cardinal resigned over sexual abuse allegations, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is expected to set aside much of its traditionally staid policy-making agenda to address the scandal during three days of meetings that start Monday.

The archbishop of Washington also resigned in connection with the scandal.

“This is going to be a very important meeting in terms of how they respond to the crisis and whether their response is going to be adequate to deal with the tremendous concerns everyone has,” said the Rev. Thomas J. Reese, a Jesuit priest and longtime religion writer.

The annual gathering, set to run through Wednesday at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront, will mark the first time the organization has met as a body since the latest round of sex abuse scandals broke.

The bishops — a grou...

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