Excerpts from the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" proposed to a June 13-15 meeting of the U.S. Roman Catholic bishops:

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PREAMBLE: "From the depths of our hearts, we express great sorrow and profound regret for what the Catholic people have had to endure. The sexual abuse of children and young people by some priests and bishops, and the ways in which these crimes and sins were too often dealt with by bishops, have caused enormous pain, anger and confusion. ... We are profoundly sorry for the times when we have deepened its pain by what we have done or by what we have failed to do."

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LOCAL REVIEW BOARDS: "Dioceses (will) have a review board, the majority of whom will be lay persons not in the employ of the diocese. This board will assess allegations, regularly review diocesan policies and procedures for dealing with sexual abuse of minors and advise the bishop on the offender's fitness for ministry."

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CONFIDENTIALITY: "Secrecy has created an atmosphere that has inhibited the healing process, and in some cases, enabled sexually abusive behavior to be repeated. Dioceses will not enter into confidentiality agreements except for grave and substantial reasons brought forward by the victim."

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SUSPENSION: "When the investigation of a complaint against a cleric so indicates, diocesan authorities are to relieve the alleged offender promptly of his ministerial duties."

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REPORTING: "Dioceses will report any accusation of sexual abuse of a person who is a minor to the proper authorities and cooperate in their investigation."

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FUTURE ABUSE CASES: "The diocesan policy will provide that, effective immediately, even a single act of abuse of a minor will bring about a request for laicization" (ending priestly status).

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PAST CASES: "If the cleric is a pedophile, or if he has committed more than one act of sexual abuse of a minor, there will be a request for the cleric's laicization" ... with non-pedophiles who committed one act, "ministerial status must be considered by the diocesan review board" with the victim and offender asked to contribute to the evaluation. "Any subsequent ministerial assignment must be accompanied by disclosure of the cleric's situation to those with whom he will live and serve."

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CLERGY TRANSFERS: The sending bishop or superior will forward, and the receiving bishop or superior will review, "before assignment, an accurate and complete description of the cleric's record including whether there is anything in the background or service of the cleric that would raise questions about his fitness for ministry."