VATICAN CITY – Members of Pope Francis' sexual abuse advisory board say they will develop specific protocols to hold bishops and other church authorities accountable if they fail to report suspected abuse or protect children from pedophile priests.
The eight-member committee met for the first time this week at the pope's Vatican hotel to discuss the scope of their work and future members.
Briefing reporters Saturday, Cardinal Sean O'Malley, the archbishop of Boston, said current church laws could hold bishops accountable if they fail to do their jobs to protect children. But he said those laws hadn't been sufficiently applied and that "clear and effective protocols" are now necessary.
Marie Collins, a committee member and survivor of sexual abuse, said she came away from the inaugural meeting of the commission "hopeful."