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Clergy Abuse Victims, Supporters Say They’re Cautiously Optimistic Of Pope’s New Plan

Milwaukee Group Still Battling Archdiocese In Bankruptcy Court

St. Mary's Catholic Church in Milwaukee
St. Mary's Catholic Church in Milwaukee.  Photo: Jimmy Everson, DVM (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Wisconsin victims of clergy abuse and their supporters say they are cautiously optimistic about a new directive from Pope Francis regarding Roman Catholic bishops.

The pope is creating a department at the Vatican that will review claims that bishops tried to cover up abuse by clergy or failed to protect parishioners from sexual assault.

The Rev. James Connell is a Wisconsin priest and member of a local alliance with abuse victims who are still in a bankruptcy court battle with the Milwaukee Archdiocese. Connell said he’d like to see some results from the new department first, but it’s possible an advisory board the pope created convinced him to act.

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“Those people may have communicated to the pope, ‘Listen you have to really do something about this, this is not just a casual thing,’” said Connell.

However, national leaders of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests say the pope could have already fired dozens of complicit bishops, but has chosen not to do so.

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