ROME – Friday was a day of concrete proposals at the summit on preventing clergy sex abuse initiated by Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich. There was also some very pointed criticism from those calling for bishop accountability in the Catholic Church.
Cupich spoke to Protection of Children in the Church Summit attendees and outlined a plan for a metropolitan church leader to have the power over other bishops when it comes to sex abuse.
“It all begins with a third party independent reporting system,” Cupich said. “It could be a hotline or a dedicated website where people would be able to make an accusation against a bishop who misbehaves or if here is serious grave mishandling of a case.”
Anne Barrett Doyle is co director of bishop-accountability.org and was pleased with Cupich’s words.
“I like the concreteness of what he said,” she said. “I like the fact that he said there’s going to be a hotline set up. He said how are we going to keep better tabs or do investigations and bishops who are accused of sexual misconduct or sexual abuse.”
But who is policing the number one local church leader in power? Now defrocked cardinal Theodore McCarrick, known for abusing seminarians and others, was at the Vatican promising reform in the last sex abuse meeting.
“I think it’s a weak proposal,” Doyle said. “I think the most powerful thing that the bishops could do is work to reform criminal and civil statutes of limitations. I think we have seen civil authorities are doing a much better job of cleaning up this church and exposing sexual abuse of children and adults than the church is doing.”
Transparency is the topic for Sunday’s discussion.