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Empty pews stand in a Catholic church in Brooklyn. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

U.S. Roman Catholic bishops have laid out a series of new policies to address the accusations of sexual abuse against priests, including instilling a code of conduct and having a third-party representative for people to confidentially report misconduct by bishops, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: This is the first step made to curb the systemic culture of secrecy in the Catholic Church in the wake of a slew of sexual abuse allegations. Meanwhile, the disclosures and a flurry of investigations have mounted pressure on Pope Francis to take drastic actions against bishops and cardinals for their role in the abuse crisis.

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
49 mins ago - World

Venezuela's predictable elections herald an uncertain future

The watchful eyes of Hugo Chávez on an election poster in Caracas. Photo: Cristian Hernandez/AFP via Getty

Venezuelans will go to the polls on Sunday, Nicolás Maduro will complete his takeover of the last opposition-held body, and much of the world will refuse to recognize the results.

The big picture: The U.S. and dozens of other countries have backed an opposition boycott of the National Assembly elections on the grounds that — given Maduro's tactics (like tying jobs and welfare benefits to voting), track record, and control of the National Electoral Council — they will be neither free nor fair.

Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden told CNN on Thursday that he plans to ask the American public to wear face masks for the first 100 days of his presidency.

The big picture: Biden also stated he has asked NIAID director Anthony Fauci to stay on in his current role, serve as a chief medical adviser and be part of his COVID-19 response team when he takes office early next year.