Cardinals Release Abuse Statement

VATICAN CITY?American cardinals and top bishops expressed regret Wednesday for failing to prevent the sex abuse scandal that has engulfed the Roman Catholic Church in the United States.

The statement came in a letter to American priests released as church leaders and top Vatican officials in a marathon session worked on a final statement with guidelines on how to deal with sexual abuse by the clergy.

Headed into the session, the cardinal of Washington indicated the American cardinals had reached a consensus on a “one strike, you’re out” policy to dismiss priests involved in future cases of abuse. But he said there were still divisions on how to deal with past cases that now come to light.

The six-paragraph message was an expression of support for priests in the United States, and pledged “to support you in every possible way through these troubled times.”