“The actions of the church do not match the words,” Marie Collins, a former member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors said at the world meeting’s panel on safeguarding children. “And in fact they are totally opposite.”
Others said the situation was even worse outside the United States, Ireland and a few other countries and urged the pope to do something.
“Words are sweet,” said another panelist, Gabriel Dy-Liacco, a Filipino psychologist who sits on the pope’s commission, “but love means deeds.”
Advocates, church officials and some clerics have articulated a wish list of what should happen. Among the demands are that each church diocese publish the names of abusive priests and hand over church records to civil law enforcement instead of fighting subpoenas.
Some have urged working with courts to aid, rather than hinder, prosecutions of abusive priests and ceasing efforts to indemnify the church from financial penalties. Others have called for the enshrining of zero-tolerance policies into the church’s canon law so that it can be enforced globally, not only in specific countries.
“In Ireland, we have made extraordinary progress,” Diarmuid Martin, the archbishop of Dublin, told reporters this week, adding that he had provided the country’s abuse commission with 80,000 documents and that his diocese had mandatory reporting obligations to local authorities within a day of a substantial accusation.
He said the pope’s commission on child protection lacked teeth, and influence, and he lamented a misogynistic culture among what he suggested were too many sheltered, power-hungry priests who had little real-life exposure to women.