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Covering the USCCB



with Vatican approval as special U.S. church legislation for handling all alle-

gations of child sexual abuse by any deacon or priest. The committee also has

responsibility for overseeing the two most extensive studies of child sexual

abuse ever conducted anywhere—one (completed in 2004) on the nature and

extent of Catholic clergy sexual abuse of minors in the United States from

1950 to 2002, and one (still underway in 2008) on the causes and context of

that abuse.

The Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection staffs the committee. Its

executive director is Deacon Bernard Nojadera. The secretariat also provides

staff assistance to the National Review Board, a board appointed by the USCCB

president to review diocesan compliance with the child protection charter; to

oversee annual diocesan audits on child protection policies, procedures and

practices; and to recommend ways that abuse prevention and child protection

may be enhanced in the future.


In addition to the programmatic committees, the USCCB has the Administrative

Committee, Committee on Budget and Finance, Committee on Priorities and

Plans, and Executive Committee.

Administrative Committee

Briefly described earlier in this chapter, the Administrative Committee is the

highest authority of the conference after the entire body of bishops when

they meet in general assembly. For legal purposes it also serves as the Board

of Trustees of the USCCB as a civil corporation. In addition to the four con-

ference officers, its members include the chairmen of all the standing com-

mittees who are elected by the general membership, as well as an elected

representative from each of the 15 USCCB regions. (One region, created

in 2006, consists of all the bishops of the Eastern Catholic churches. The

other 14 are geographic regions of the bishops of the Latin Church.) Also on

the Administrative Committee are the chairman of the Board of Directors of

Catholic Relief Services, if he is not the USCCB president, and the immediate

past president of the USCCB during the first year after completion of his term.

Each region also elects an alternate, who may cast his vote at any meeting not

attended by the region’s representative.

Administrative Committee meetings are closed to the public and the

media, but any bishop may attend. In practice, few bishops who are not