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US: protests by abuse victims, calling on bishops to take radical measures

(from Baltimore) Victims of abuse by members of the clergy gathered outside the Waterfront Marriott Hotel, where the US Bishops are holding their General Assembly, to encourage the prelates to take radical measures against this scourge that affects the Church. Some of them travelled from as far as New York to join in the protest and ask for a collective resignation of the Bishops. They marched with pins or simple poster board signs reading: “Repent and resign”. Even the leaders of BishopAccountability.org organised a conference in which abuse survivors denounced the Vatican’s request for the US bishops to postpone voting on some proposals regarding their response to the abuse scandal. “They cannot walk out of this conference without delivering anything”, said a woman, an abuse survivor from the Diocese of Wisconsin. Since 2002, a public list with the names of the accused has been kept and regularly updated by the Diocese of Baltimore, but to protesters such initiatives are insufficient. Protesters also deem insufficient the efforts by Bishop Steven R. Biegler of Cheyenne in Wyoming, who is encouraging and supporting the painstaking enquiry against his predecessor accused of several abuse cases. Many of them call for immediate action. Another rally entitled “Silence Stops Now” was organised nearby the Waterfront Marriott Hotel. Taking the stage was also James Grein, one of the victims abused by Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. Mr Grein told his distressing story, which began when he was 11 and continued for the next 18 years, even after McCarrick was consecrated a bishop. Mr Grein decided to come forward to encourage other victims to do the same. He hopes that the canonical trial against the former Cardinal, who now resides in a monastery in Kansas, will begin soon. A group of priests, seminarians and lay faithful walked 50 miles to the Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore. They reached their destination after two days of prayer and penance. The pilgrims handed out a sheet of paper with 5 thesis to encourage the Bishops in their work, inviting them to transparency, listening to the survivors, and to a serious reform. During the vigil, the names of some of the survivors were read out together with the initials of those who committed suicide or died from an overdose.

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