To be most effective, the tribunal to judge bishops on “abuse of office,” which the Vatican announced last week, must have the authority to review historical cases, says the chairman of the board that advises the Catholic Bishop of England and Wales on child protection measures.
“The most critical question for this new tribunal is whether it will deal with current complaints only, or whether it will include historic cases of bishops' failings,” according to Danny Sullivan, chairman of the U.K.’s National Catholic Safeguarding Commission. The comments came on a blog at The Tablet this morning.
“In England and Wales, Ireland and Scotland, all bishops’ conferences have conducted reviews of historic abuse cases to look for anything missed and lessons learnt. This has helped towards proper accountability and healing. The tribunal could make the same contribution to accountability, and healing and by so doing, recognise that whilst cases may be historic, the suffering and damage to survivors is in the here and now, day after day,” Sullivan wrote.
Sullivan has many questions about the proposed tribunal, but overall he approves. “Will these proposals once implemented be effective? Time will tell, but Pope Francis is certainly developing a narrative in relation to senior church leaders being called to account in ways never seen before,” Sullivan wrote.
Read the full blog here: Pope’s abuse tribunal should also lift the lid on historic cases