Notzon said he and the review board are formulating specific recommendations to increase accountability among the bishops, and at a meeting next month will press them to “translate what we have found into action.”
“I have no hesitancy in communicating ... that this is a concern that has to be addressed and continues to be addressed,” Notzon said.
Support for enforcement
What’s new is that he and Nojadera may now have some high-level allies in their corner.
Speaking in Rome before the papal election in March, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley — the American prelate with perhaps the greatest credibility on the abuse issue — said that whoever was elected pope would need to develop a clear and consistent policy for dealing with bishops whose “malfeasance” allowed abusive priests to stay in ministry.
“Right now, it’s not terribly clear, but it’s something the next pope will have to deal with,” O’Malley told the Boston Globe. “My point is always that if you don’t have policies, you’ll be improvising, and when you improvise, you make a lot of mistakes.”
A week later, O’Malley and the other cardinals elected Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis, and the new pope also indicated that addressing the abuse crisis would be a priority — something the review board and most Catholics would welcome.
“We are looking forward with great anticipation to hearing and seeing about the specifics on that from the Holy See — what he (Francis) will be talking about or hoping to put in place, if indeed that is to be a priority,” Nojadera said.
The annual compliance audit that was released Thursday is mainly a parish-level view of how the charter is being implemented, and it did not specifically address the recent incidents involving bishops.
But while the audit showed widespread compliance with the prevention policies — as well as declining numbers of allegations of abuse — it also pointed to a number of dioceses that were either ignoring the charter or were not allowing on-site inspections.
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