Timlin, Asked To Stay Home, Attends Bishop Conference Anyway
Banned from publicly representing the Diocese of Scranton, retired bishop James C. Timlin disregarded a request that he not attend the national meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, a spokesman for the diocese said.
A photograph shot by the Associated Press on Monday shows Timlin riding on an escalator with several other bishops during a break in the USCCB’s annual fall meeting in Baltimore, Maryland.
Bishops throughout the United States are meeting through this Wednesday. At the Vatican’s insistence, the group postponed plans to vote on proposed new steps to address the clergy sex abuse scandal.
The diocese’s current bishop, the Most Rev. Joseph Bambera, announced on Aug. 31 he permanently barred Timlin from representing the diocese in any public functions in the wake of an Aug. 14 statewide grand jury report that revealed Timlin mishandled sexual abuse cases.
William Genello, spokesman for the diocese, said Bambera asked Timlin not to attend the conference, but he had no authority to prevent him from doing so.
“While Bishop Timlin is forbidden from representing the Diocese of Scranton, membership in the USCCB and attendance at conferences is beyond the control of Bishop Bambera,” Genello said in an email.
It’s not known what role Timlin has at the conference and if he has the authority to vote on any matters. Attempts to reach Judy Keane,spokeswoman for the USCCB, were not immediately successful.
Bambera in August said he opted to ban Timlin from representing the diocese because the grand jury report made it clear that, although Timlin did not abuse children, he should have done more to protect them.
“He presided over the Diocese of Scranton for nearly 20 years — a time in which the Diocese fell short of its duty to protect children,” Bambera said in a letter sent to parishioners. “And, in many of the cases detailed in the Grand Jury report, Bishop Timlin fell short, too. While he followed the existing rules and policies when handling most of these cases, there was more he could have done to protect children.”
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