Yahoo News Explains: Is the Vatican doing enough to address sexual abuse in the church?

Kayla Jardine
Associate Producer

The Vatican halted a plan by U.S. bishops to address the age-old sexual abuse issues plaguing the Roman Catholic Church.

“At the insistence of the Holy See, we will not be voting on the two action items in our documentation regarding the abuse crisis,” said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo.

America’s Catholic leaders hoped to vote on the first code of conduct for bishops. This would make it easier to investigate misconduct and abuse in the Catholic Church.

The announcement was made at an annual meeting, and many were left disappointed and frustrated by the news from Rome.

“We can bring a lot in terms of what we’ve managed to accomplish over 16 years, in terms of cleaning up our act, making sure our churches are safe for children, our schools are safe for children,” said Bishop Christopher Coyne.  

Leaders planned to hold bishops more responsible for reported cases of misconduct and abuse.


Protesters were outside the conference, some holding signs. 

A representative for BishopAccountability.org, Anne Barrett Doyle, said, “I am stunned and disappointed at the lack of courage being shown by the conference. These are American children being hurt.”

In Pennsylvania, a grand jury named more than 300 clergy members in a 2018 report that found more than 1,000 children had been abused.

And a Catholic Church-commissioned report in 2004 found that more than 4,000 U.S. Catholic priests faced sexual abuse allegations in the last 50 years.

The issues facing the Catholic Church will be tabled until a global summit scheduled for February.