by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki
During the week of June 10-14, I was in Baltimore attending the meetings of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), during which we made substantial progress in addressing the recent issues that have confronted us in the church. The outcome of these meetings was that we voted to approve directives designed to implement the document Vos Estis Lux Mundi (You are the light of the world), issued by Pope Francis in May to help the Catholic Church safeguard its members from abuse and hold its leaders accountable. We also approved the document, Acknowledging Our Episcopal Commitments and the Protocol regarding Available Nonpenal Restrictions on Bishops who have resigned or have been removed due to misconduct or negligence in office. In addition, we voted to authorize the implementation of a third-party reporting system that would allow people to make confidential reports of abuse complaints against bishops through a toll-free telephone number and online.