Viewpoint: As for priests in 2002, a complete audit of bishops is needed today

-- By Father Peter Daly, Washington, D.C.

Not enough that the hierarchy ask for forgiveness. The AUSCP should call for a complete audit of the US and Canadian bishops, just as the John Jay School of Law audit done on priests after the 2002 Dallas Charter.

The audit should ask several questions, including:

  1. Did the bishop reassign known predators?
  2. Did the bishop fail to notify law enforcement and civil authorities of child abuse, child pornography, and child rape?
  3. Did the bishop require Non Disclosure Agreements as part of settlements to make victims be silent?
  4. Did the bishop knowingly cover-up sexual activity at seminaries and by seminary faculty?
  5. Did the bishop use diocesan resources for his own personal legal expenses and to reach settlements in his own cases?
  6. Did the bishop give letters of good standing or other positive references to known predators and child molestors.

If the answer to these questions is yes there should be severe penalties.

If the bishop is still in office, he should be made to resign immediately and should be turned over to civil authorities if appropriate.

If the bishop has left office by resignation, retirement or death, then his name should be removed from all buildings, programs and groups that bear his name.

The results of the audit should be made public.

The audit should be carried out by a board comprised of bishops and priests, but a majority of lay members with legal and law enforcement expertise.