This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto", January 6, 2004, that was edited for clarity.
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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Nearly all of the nation's Roman Catholic Bishops (search) are carrying out a new policy they adopted to prevent sexual abuse by priests…
But are bishops giving themselves an unworthy pat on the back with this audit? Barbara Blaine says yes. She’s president of the Survivors Network, those abused by priests. She’s a survivor herself. But William Gavin disagrees. He’s president of the Gavin Group, which performed the audit in question.
Welcome to both of you.
So Barbara, you are not pleased with this?
BARBARA BLAINE, ABUSED AS TEENAGER BY PRIEST: Well, we acknowledge that this is a bare minimum step forward, but that is all it is. The standards were set so low by the bishops, and then they chose who was going to assess them. And, by and large, this is 100 percent self-reporting. And it is just what the bishops wanted to disclose.
It’s just hard to believe that these same bishops, who have for decades tried to keep everything hidden and secret and are still battling in courts across the country to not have to reveal documents or allow a grand jury to release information, that they are forthcoming and completely open with these auditors or these interviewers that came with a clipboard. It is just hard to believe that those same people made the 180-degree turnabout.
CAVUTO: William Gavin, that is the argument, I guess, a lot of this audit, that maybe the people you were auditing weren’t honest.
WILLIAM GAVIN, THE GAVIN GROUP: Well, let me back up just a little. In choosing the auditors that I did -- there are 50 former FBI agents -- I chose them for integrity, I chose them for their ability to interview, I chose them for their probative abilities. And also, for their passion to assist children and young people within the church.
Secondly, I’ve heard it classified as a self-audit, but that is nowhere close to being true. The auditors went to each one of the dioceses throughout the United States. They had free access to all files, free access to interviews.
Not only did they interview people within the diocese itself, they went outside and interviewed prosecutors, interviewed law enforcement officials, interviewed parishioners, interviewed victims. So it was a pretty broad-scope audit prepared. And the other thing is, if in fact it is looked at as a self-audit, 131 instructions were issued, and these are pretty severe consequences.
CAVUTO: But what would be the punishment, William? I mean, let’s say you don’t cooperate. I mean, what is to stop a bishop or some of his minions to say, forget it?
GAVIN: Well, this isn’t about punishment. This is about looking at what is going on in determining the base value. We issued 131 instructions...
CAVUTO: But you do need punishment, William, right? You do need someone to say, look, you have been secretive in the past, as Barbara pointed out. And who is to say you are not still being secretive now. And if you are there, should be some punishment.
GAVIN: That is not what the scope of the audit was about, Neil. The scope of the audit was to look at how the churches are complying with the charter that they agreed to comply with...
CAVUTO: And you say, by and large, with the exception of New York and Anchorage, Alaska and Omaha, they are?
GAVIN: Well, I heard a statistic that 90 percent are. That is probably not true. It is 90 percent of the dioceses who are in compliance because they do not have outstanding instructions.
CAVUTO: All right.
Barbara, I want to get your take on where this goes for you. As a survivor of abuse yourself, and with the network now, are you at least encouraged that the Church has taken the direction it has to address the issues you are concerned about?
BLAINE: We are extremely grateful that the bishops keep addressing this issue and that they continue to try to make things better. Our concern with this audit is that they set the standards so low. For example, they were looking at whether or not each diocese has a policy in place and whether they actually give a copy of the policy to victims.
We believe it would be far more effective if they would study whether or not the policies are even being followed. And, we believe that if they really wanted...
CAVUTO: Barbara, do you go to church now?
BLAINE: I am a practicing Catholic, and I believe that church leaders have taken a great deal from me. But they can’t take away my faith, which is in God.
CAVUTO: All right. Barbara Blaine, I want to thank you very much. William Gavin, thank you both. I appreciate it.
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