A commission set up to advise Pope Francis on the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church will recommend that negligent and accused church officials be held accountable no matter their rank, a cardinal said Saturday.
"Our concern is to make sure that there are clear and effective protocols to deal with superiors in the church who have not fulfilled their obligations to protect children," Boston's Cardinal Sean O'Malley said. Accountability should apply to "every one in the church regardless of what their status is ... both for those who perpetrate the crime of sexual abuse and those who are negligent in child protection."
The eight-person commission, made up of four men and four women, met for the first time since the commission's March formation, Reuters reported. The commission said in a statement that it sees "ensuring accountability in the Church as especially important."
The commission will draw up protocols for the pope to consider in order to address the frequent cases of child abuse over the years within the church. In many cases, bishops have protected accused priests by moving them between parishes rather than handing them over to the police or defrocking them.
Pope Francis asked for forgiveness last month for the "evil" committed by priests who have molested children.