CHICAGO (CBS) — The worldwide priest sex abuse scandal is the focus of a gathering of hundreds of Catholic bishops and priests in Rome this week.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, more proposed guidelines to deal with priest predators, and to protect children, are to be submitted to Pope Benedict XVI in May. This week in Rome, those who will write those guidelines are hearing from experts and victims.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports
But Barbara Blaine, the Chicago-based president of the Survivors’ Network of Those Abused by Priests, is skeptical that there will be any real change. She calls this week’s symposium at the Vatican a PR maneuver.
“Unless and until they are willing to take concrete action that changes the way they do things, I suspect that children will continue to be raped and sexually violated by priests, and bishops will continue to cover up these crimes,” she said.
Blaine points out that a zero tolerance policy on sexual abuse by priests has already been adopted by bishops in the United States, and it has been far from a success.
“When those bishops fail to follow the policy, there are absolutely no negative consequences for them,” she said.
This week’s gathering began with a high-level cardinal praising Pope Benedict for strengthening systems for dealing with priest predators.
But Blaine has some of her own ideas for how such systems can be strengthened. She says the Roman Catholic Church needs to remove all predators who have abused children, turn them over to police, and name names so parents are armed with information to protect their children.