As US Catholic bishops convene today for a biannual meeting in St Louis to discuss the status of the priest sex abuse scandal, the news appears less than promising. After a difficult year laden with legal battles, pricey settlements, disputes with lay Catholic groups, and diminishing financial contributions, the bishops opened their meeting faced with yesterday's resignation of Phoenix Bishop Thomas O'Brien under felony charges for leaving a fatal hit-and-run scene and Monday's ouster of former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating as leader of the National Review Board, created to monitor and advise the Church's handling of the scandal. Keating was forced to resign after he made statements to the Los Angeles Times likening the bishops' behavior and stronghold of power to that of the Mafia, reported the New York Times. In his resignation letter, Keating insisted that despite the fact that "most bishops" support the review board, "[t]o resist grand jury subpoenas, to suppress the names of offending clerics, to deny, to obfuscate, to explain away; that is the model of a criminal organization, not my church," according to the Associated Press.
5/20/2013 Afghan Violence Against Women Law Blocked in Parliament - On Saturday, the Speaker of the Lower House of Afghan Parliament delayed a vote on the Elimination of Violence against Women law after two hours of vociferous debate between conservative religious and more liberal members of Parliament. . . .
5/20/2013 Walmart, American Retailers Refuse to Join Bangladesh Accord - Walmart, along with 13 other major North American companies, refused to sign a legally binding agreement to improve working conditions for overseas factory workers that manufacture their clothes after a garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh killing an estimated 1300 workers, the New York Times reports.
The agreement requires retailers pay $500,000 to improve worker safety measures over a five year period. . . .