By Holding Themselves Accountable, Bishops Close a Gap

Catholic New York

June 19, 2019

The U.S. bishops’ newly approved plan establishing procedures to report complaints of clergy sexual abuse and to hold its leaders accountable is an important step in the ongoing struggle to move beyond the crisis.

We pray that it works as hoped, and that the Church will in time fully recover the dedication and trust of the faithful.

The plan implements the “motu proprio” issued by Pope Francis in May following a Vatican summit in February on sexual abuse. The bishops were poised to take up a similar plan last fall, but they deferred action at the Vatican’s request until after the February summit.

Essentially, the bishops’ plan calls for using a national third-party reporting system to receive reports of abuse and forward them to the proper Church authority, utilizes proven lay experts as advisers, gives oversight responsibility to the metropolitan (an archbishop or bishop of a province with more than one diocese) throughout the investigative process, and other measures.

The third-party reporting system will allow people to make reports via a toll-free telephone number as well as online.

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