A watchdog panel will report Tuesday on the progress that dioceses are making toward protecting children in the church.
The panel is composed of laymen selected by the bishops last year at the height of the molestation crisis.
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops president Bishop Wilton Gregory opened the four-day meeting Monday saying the "energy of the whole church'' should be directed toward reaching out to abuse victims and rebuilding unity among Catholics divided by the crisis.
In other matters, a committee of bishops proposed Tuesday that the nation's Roman Catholic leaders issue a statement condemning same-sex unions and reinforcing church teaching that gay sex is a sin.
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