The Associated Press has the most clear-eyed report on the Vatican’s latest efforts to curb child abuse by Catholic clergy without actually forcing bishops to comply:
The Vatican told bishops around the world Monday that it was important to cooperate with police in reporting priests who rape and molest children and said they should develop guidelines for preventing sex abuse by next May.
But the suggestions in the letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are vague and nonbinding and contain no enforcement mechanisms to ensure bishops actually draft the guidelines or follow them.
That is a significant omission given the latest scandal in the United States involves allegations Philadelphia’s archbishop left accused priests in ministry despite purportedly tough U.S. guidelines, and evidence that Irish bishops weren’t cooperating with an independent board overseeing compliance with the guidelines of the church in Ireland.
Compare the Vatican’s treatment of the former Australian bishop who expressed an openness to women’s ordination with its treatment of bishops who knowingly moved abusive priests into position in which they could abuse children yet again.