There appears to be unanimity on the principle of automatic ‘consequences’ for Catholic bishops who fail to protect children, among members of the Commission advising Pope Francis on the prevention of clerical sexual abuse of children.
Ireland’s abuse survivor member of the commission, Marie Collins, was especially forthright at the first meeting of the full membership of the commission in Rome.
“You can have as many guidelines as you like in place, but if the men that are supposed to be implementing don’t implement them, there has to be some sanction or you’re wasting your time,” she said.
“We can write and [make] recommendations to the Holy Father and he can put it in a guideline to the bishops, but if there’s nothing there if they ignore it, it’s all a waste of time,” she continued.
Ms Collins agreed with another abuse survivor, the Englishman Peter Saunders, that if the commission had not solved this problem in two years it would not be worth their staying in it any longer.
Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley was equally emphatic on the principle of accountability for failing bishops: “Obviously, there has to be consequences.”
For the full NCR report of this interview click here.