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Bishop Shawn

BALTIMORE, Maryland, June 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pointing to the anemic nature of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) measures to deal with episcopal accountability, a bishop pressed for mandatory lay involvement in investigating allegations against bishops concerning sexual abuse and cover-up.  

During a discussion preceding the approval of Affirming Our Episcopal Commitments, Bishop W. Shawn McKnight of Jefferson City stood up and said, “We all feel the necessity, when we go home, of being able to tell our people – and especially our priests – that we have done everything we are able to do to respond to this crisis.”  

“I believe it should be mandatory,” said McKinght, “that we involve laity in the investigation of any case of sexual abuse by a bishop or corruption, cover-up.” The bishop’s comments begin at 34:57 in the below video.

Learn more about Bishop McKnight’s views and past actions by visiting Click here.

“I believe that we should do that because that’s the Catholic thing to do,” asserted McKnight.

McKnight referred to Lumen Gentium 37, which “addresses specifically not only the right, but the obligation of the laity to be involved in the most important matters facing the Church.”

“Who can deny that this is not the most important matter now?” he asked.

“Lay involvement should be mandatory to make darn sure that we bishops do not harm the Church in the way bishops have harmed the Church, especially what we have become aware of this past year,” asserted McKnight. “Lay involvement helps to ensure that victim survivors are cared for and that they are treated with respect.”     

“Lay involvement is necessary in the event of an innocent bishop being accused falsely, because how else would we have a credible process that finds that an accusation is not credible?” he asked. “We need the laity to help us with that.”

“Lay involvement is necessary to help repair the broken relationships between priests and their bishops,” said McKnight. “Ever since the Charter in 2002, many priests feel that the failure to include bishops in the Charter was like throwing priests under the bus.”  

“And now that we have experienced this horrible year of bad bishops, the laity too are rightly demanding: ‘something must change,’” he added.