Beliefnet
July 02, VATICAN CITY (AP) - The Vatican said Tuesday it has received the policy American prelates approved in Dallas to bar sexually abusive priests from church work, but gave no indication of how long its examination will take.

Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, traveled to Rome last week.

``He went to personally deliver to the Holy See the work of the Dallas meeting,'' said Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman for the bishop's conference in Washington.

A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, said Gregory had been expected but that he had no details on his meetings.

The proposed policy will now be examined by various Vatican offices, but it was not known how long this will take.

The bishops need Vatican approval to make the plan binding on every U.S. diocese. Some Vatican officials have expressed concern that the plan is too sweeping - raising the possibility that the Holy See would reject it.

In particular, several church officials in Rome have expressed concern that American clergy accused of sexual abuse would be subjected to ``summary'' trials.

The American bishops, struggling to restore trust in their leadership, have assured U.S. Catholics they'll comply with the policy.

Under the plan, bishops are required to remove abusive priests from public ministry and form boards comprised mainly of lay people to monitor how the church handles misconduct allegations.

A full Vatican review could be lengthy, since it would involve several departments, including those dealing with clergy, bishops and doctrinal orthodoxy. Those are the same departments the U.S. cardinals sounded out in April when they came to Rome for urgent talks with Pope John Paul II about the abuse scandal.

The bishops adopted the new policy in June following months of revelations that Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston and other church leaders moved abusive priests from assignment to assignment without warning parishioners.

Rank-and-file Catholics have responded by demanding more say in how the church is run. Prosecutors in at least nine states have called grand juries to investigate the conduct of bishops, church officials or priests.

Four bishops have resigned in the United States since sex abuse revelations began engulfing the church in January.

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