The Holy See has ordered the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to delay voting on proposals that would lay the groundwork for a response to the sexual abuse crisis within the Church.

The news came from Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the USCCB, at the beginning of their fall general assembly meeting in Baltimore from November 12th to the 14th. Cardinal DiNardo said that the order to delay the vote came directly from the Holy See just a day before the opening of their meeting on Sunday afternoon.

“At the insistence of the Holy See, we will not be voting on the two action items in our docket regarding the abuse crisis.” – Cardinal DiNardo

According to Cardinal DiNardo, the Holy See insisted the vote on the new proposals be delayed until the conclusion of the unprecedented meeting of bishops in February called by Pope Francis concerning the “protection of minors” to address the abuse crisis.

The proposals they planned to vote on contained drafts for a “Standards of Conduct,” along with the creation of a special investigative commission to handle abuse accusations against bishops. DiNardo said he was “disappointed,” but is still hopeful the meeting will prove fruitful.

In response to the decision by the Holy See to the delay the vote on measures to address the abuse crisis, Cardinal Blase Cupich of the Archdiocese of Chicago, also in attendance, said that “it is clear the Holy See is taking the abuse crisis seriously.” He proposed the next meeting of the USCCB be moved to after the conclusion of the special meeting so they can act as soon as possible – “[this] is something we cannot delay — there is an urgency here.”

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