Baltimore, Md., Nov 13, 2018 / 13:09 pm
A third-party complaint hotline could solve a major problem in the Church when it comes to reporting abuse - namely, that there is currently no procedure in place for filing complaints against bishops, Archbishop Jose Gomez said at the USCCB meeting Tuesday.
“With this new system we are trying to address a problem…(Catholics) have no clear avenue to report allegations or complaints against bishops,” Gomez said.
“With the 2002 charter, there is a clear avenue for making complaints against priests or deacons through a diocesan coordinator,” he said. “But in light of recent events, we are now talking about complaints against bishops.”
Gomez addressed the U.S. bishops gathered in Baltimore Nov. 12-14 for their fall meeting.
The reporting hotline was presented as a discussion item, as part of a presentation of four proposals intended to help with the reporting and handling of cases of sexual abuse against minors, and the sexual abuse or harassment of adults, by bishops.
When introducing the session, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said the discussion was not meant to slight the authority of the Holy See, which has ordered the bishops to hold their final votes on such proposals until after a meeting at the Vatican in February. Rather, the bishops were merely discussing things in their immediate scope.
Those filing complaints are “understandably” concerned about how complaints against a bishop might be handled if they are filed directly to a diocese, Gomez said, and they may want to reach out to the U.S. nunciature or the pope himself, but not know how to do so.
The third party reporting system could help restore some trust and accountability regarding those complaints, Gomez said.