Following up on hints given during a CBS “60 Minutes” interview last fall, Cardinal Sean O’Malley told John Allen of The Boston Globe on Monday, Feb. 16, that the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors will present “proposals for new accountability mechanisms to the pope within two months’ time.”
Church reform movement Voice of the Faithful® has been calling for bishops to be held accountable for coverups of clergy sexual abuse since 2002 and for penalties to be applied to those who continue failing to follow even basic standards. We are encouraged that there is at least a proposed deadline for presenting accountability procedures.
But the Vatican has often promised changes, reform and accountability without implementing such plans effectively and consistently. It seems that Cardinal O’Malley recognizes how damaging this record is. In the interview, he told Allen, “a lack of accountability for bishops who fail to make ‘zero tolerance’ policies stick has damaged the church’s credibility.”
It remains to be seen whether these new proposals will be realistic in terms of justice and whether they will be adopted and then implemented. If not, it will be yet another missed opportunity to demonstrate that the Church no longer will tolerate clergy sexual abuse and its coverups and that justice is more important than a hierarch’s position.
Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.