WASHINGTON (May 9, 2006) -- The Congregation for Bishops has granted its recognitio (permission to implement) to the revised Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in June, 2005.
The decree of the Congregation, signed by its Prefect, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, grants the recognitio until otherwise provided for (donec aliter provideatur), that is, indefinitely.
The decree, which is dated January 1, 2006, was received by Spokane Bishop William S. Skylstad, president of the USCCB, during an April meeting at the Congregation which was part of the annual spring meetings of the officers of the USCCB with the heads of offices of the Holy See.
Bishop Skylstad has issued a decree promulgating the revised Essential Norms. They are in force as of May 15, 2006, and bind, as particular church law for the United States, all dioceses and eparchies (dioceses of the Eastern Catholic Church) of the USCCB.
A document containing essential norms was first adopted by the USCCB in June, 2002, and was subject to discussion and revision by a mixed commission made up of representatives of the Holy See and members of the USCCB. The result of the mixed commission's work was the original Essential Norms which were adopted by the USCCB in November, 2002. They received the required recognitio by the Congregation for Bishops on December 8, 2002, and were promulgated by the USCCB president, then-Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, on December 12, 2002.
Attached is a text of the revised Essential Norms with changes highlighted and a side-by-side comparison of the 2002 and 2006 texts: