Clergy Sex Abuse Policy Approved

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

America's Roman Catholic bishops have approved revisions to their sex abuse policy that aim to protect the rights of accused priests while keeping molesters away from children.

Members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voted 246-to-seven with six abstentions to approve the new plan, which stipulates that offending priests should be removed from public ministry.

That includes celebrating Mass, teaching in Catholic schools or wearing a Roman collar after "even one act of sexual abuse of a minor."

The policy will be binding on all U.S. bishops after a final Vatican review. It was revised to satisfy Vatican concerns that the U.S. bishops weren't doing enough to ensure due process for priests.

The bishops insist the plan shows they are deeply committed to reform.