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Bishop Says Pope 'Deeply Touched' By U.S. Scandal

April 14, 2002|From Associated Press

ROME — A top U.S. bishop said Saturday that Pope John Paul II has been "deeply touched" by the suffering surrounding allegations of sexual abuse by American priests. But the pontiff did not discuss calls for the resignation of Boston Cardinal Bernard Law.

Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said John Paul expressed his support for the U.S. church during a week of talks at the Vatican, where Gregory said the abuse allegations were a central issue.

The talks between the pontiff and a delegation of American bishops, held semi-annually, came as the U.S. church faces charges that it failed to respond appropriately to charges of sexual misconduct by priests.

"Given the level of anxiety and anguish, this has touched him deeply," he said.

Gregory said there was no discussion of Law, who has acknowledged that he transferred a priest to another parish despite knowing of sexual misconduct allegations against the man.

Gregory said U.S. bishops would try to come up with a common policy to deal with sex-abuse allegations during a June meeting.

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