Archbishop Harry J. Flynn: New point man on abuse

Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis since 1995. Twice assigned to handle abuse emergencies. In 1986, sent by Pope John Paul II to the Lafayette, La., Diocese as an extra bishop to clean up the first big U.S. scandal. Eight weeks ago, suddenly put in charge of the U.S. bishops' Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse in the midst of its preparation of the proposals Flynn is now defending from the dais.

Bishop Wilton D. Gregory: Conference chair; prodded pope

Bishop of Belleville, Ill., since 1994. The first black president of the U.S. bishops, elected by them to a three-year term last November. Weeks later, the current scandals erupted. Installed Flynn, sought to reassure the laity and prodded the pope, the Vatican, and his colleagues for decisive action. Gregory is now in the chair guiding deliberations.

Cardinal Bernard F. Law: Resisting resignation

Cardinal and archbishop of Boston since 1984. Claims and suits nationwide were sparked by accounts from the media, lawyers, and victims about his administration ignoring complaints and coddling abusers. Despite parishioner fury, Law has fended off unprecedented public demands for his resignation. The longest-serving among cardinals living in the United States, he has been regarded as the most influential at the Vatican.

Cardinal Roger M. Mahony: Leading zero-tolerance advocate

Cardinal and archbishop since 1985 of the Los Angeles Archdiocese, the nation's largest (4,148,720 members). Mahony is among the most outspoken prelates, insisting on nationwide "zero tolerance--past, present and future" toward abusive priests, "no exceptions." He set that policy locally Feb. 22 but has faced some Boston-style complaints during investigations of more than 30 current or former priests.

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