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- Southern Illinois farmer's grapevines destroyed by dicamba; four years of work lost (10/29/17)2
- Aldi store reopens after renovations (11/14/17)3
- Decisions coming soon on steel mill, smelter in New Madrid (11/17/17)1
- Residents view pedestrian bridge as eyesore; city manager says it's designed to rust (11/13/17)8
- State audit: Bollinger County tax levies violate state law; county commission disagrees (11/17/17)3
- Cape native co-directs Thanksgiving-related indie film, 'Drinksgiving' (11/17/17)
- The Tungsten Groove to release first album featuring original songs (11/17/17)
- Son of Westboro Baptist Church patriarch discusses abuse, faith (11/15/17)6
- Federal jury finds surgeon Fonn guilty of kickback scheme (11/10/17)4
Bishops offer sex abuse plan that falls short of zero tolerance
AP Religion WriterDALLAS (AP) -- America's Roman Catholic bishops offered a sex abuse policy Friday that falls just short of zero tolerance for molesting priests. The plan would bar abusers from parish work.
Under the plan, priests who molested children in the past or commit even a single act of abuse in the future would be ousted from the priesthood. Some abusers could voluntarily withdraw from active ministry and work in a monastery or some other restricted setting.
The plan, hammered out since April and the subject of debate behind closed doors Thursday, was expected to be voted on later Friday.
If approved, the bishops would ask the Vatican to approve key parts of the plan. That would make the proposal binding law in the United States church, which has been rocked by allegations of priest abuse since January.
Some Vatican officials have indicated they oppose a full "zero tolerance" policy for abusive priests.
Another element of the proposal would prohibit dioceses from signing confidentiality agreements with victims in civil lawsuits over sex abuse, unless the victim insists.
Bishops would also report all claims of sexual abuse of a minor to public authorities. Bishop Wilton Gregory, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, acknowledged Thursday that prelates in many cases have failed to report such allegations to law enforcement.
The plan would also set up diocese review boards to look at complaints and assess the diocese's response. The boards would be made up primarily of lay people.
A national review board would annually audit whether dioceses had complied with the overall policy.