U.S. Cardinal Joseph Bernardin and Latin American Cardinal Bernardin Gantin address a news conference in Vatican City before a meeting of 35 American Catholic leaders with Pope John Paul II and top Vatican officials to discuss the independent-minded American flock. A top Vatican cardinal Thursday accused bishops of allowing their authority to be usurped by academic experts, but some U.S. bishops countered that compromising on some church issues "should not be seen as weakness" as long as matters of faith are not involved. The Vatican has criticized American Catholics' dissent from Rome on matters like artificial birth control and divorce.