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Vatican still studying U.S. proposals to combat clergy sex abuse
By Victor L. Simpson, Associated Press, 08/17/02
KRAKOW, Poland -- The Vatican said Saturday that it is still studying proposals by U.S. bishops to combat sexual abuse by priests, and that it hopes to have a response soon.
"No decision has been taken yet, because the document is still being evaluated," said Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls, who is traveling with the pope in Poland.
"We hope to be able to communicate soon to the (U.S.) bishops the answer to their requests," he said.
Navarro-Valls was responding to reports that the Vatican had decided to reject at least some portions of a U.S. proposal to stamp out sex abuse among the clergy.
The bishops drafted the guidelines at a tumultuous meeting in June forced by months of scandal in which at least 300 priests have resigned or been suspended because of misconduct claims.
Vatican canon law experts as well as officials from three Vatican congregations are involved in studying the guidelines, which includes a policy to keep priests who molest children away from parishioners. Some at the Vatican are said to be worried that innocent priests could be removed by overly zealous bishops.
Pope John Paul II's native Poland has not been immune to the sex abuse scandals that have shaken the Roman Catholic Church. Earlier this year, the archbishop of Poznan, a former member of John Paul's inner circle at the Vatican, was forced to resign followed allegations he abused seminarians.