U.S. Bishops Adopt Policy on Priests

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After months of scandal that tore at the heart of the Roman Catholic Church, American bishops adopted a policy Friday that will bar sexually abusive clergy from face-to-face contact with parishioners but keep them in the priesthood.

The national policy is intended to be binding on 178 mainstream dioceses, representing a major shift from the voluntary discipline guidelines the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has relied on for years. The bishops will need Vatican approval to make the policy binding.

The prelates stood and applauded after they approved the policy on a 239-13 vote.