- May 25, 2020
As the U.S. Catholic bishops gathered for a closely watched meeting with the hopes of enacting new standards for bishop accountability, debate over what role lay people could be involved in their oversight dominated day one of their gathering.
The path to rebuilding the U.S. Church’s credibility as it emerges from the lingering clergy sexual abuse scandal rests in embracing the role of laypeople as important collaborators, said the chairman of the National Review Board.
Surveys show that many Catholics are unaware of the steps that the bishops have taken since 2002 to prevent child abuse and to monitor its own performance.
The National Review Board chairman called for changes to the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” to “make it a less ambiguous document” because despite nearly every diocese meeting its standards in third-party audits, some bishops are facing scrutiny about their handling of reports of wayward priests.
Despite groundbreaking steps the U.S. Catholic Church has taken to prevent the sexual abuse of minors in the past 16 years, a potential “complacency” in following safety protocols could pose a challenge to those hard-won advances.