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Here’s why the Vatican told US bishops to delay vote on sex abuse reform, Braxton says

Bishop Edward Braxton on the racial divide among Catholics

Belleville Bishop Edward Braxton talks about the racial divide among Catholics.
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Belleville Bishop Edward Braxton talks about the racial divide among Catholics.

The Vatican has asked U.S. Bishops to delay their votes on two items regarding clergy abuse to ensure worldwide consistency, Bishop Edward Braxton says.

The proposals in response to the sex-abuse crises were to be voted on at the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops, which Braxton is part of. Braxton provided a statement on Wednesday afternoon that “most of the bishops were surprised and disappointed” initially by the instruction to delay the votes.

However, he said, the delay will allow issues discovered or proposals made by Bishops in other countries to have the same approval and provide worldwide consistency in the Catholic Church.

“The reason for the Holy See’s request for the delay was not because of any expressed objection to the contents of these proposed documents,” Braxton said. “Rather, it was because the Holy Father wanted the Bishops of the United States to wait until after the February meeting that he has called for Presidents of Episcopal Conferences from around the world. ... The delay will make sure that the policies of the Episcopal Conferences of each country are consistent and have the “recognitio” (or approval) of the Holy See.”

On Jan. 9, the Rev. Gerald Hechenberger, former associate pastor of Holy Childhood Church and School in Mascoutah, was charged with possessing and distributing child pornography and possession of meth.

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