Once the floor opened for questions and comments, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago reminded the bishops that they did make a commitment to apply the 2002 Dallas Charter to themselves when appropriate.
"In cases of an allegation of sexual abuse of minors by bishops, we will apply the requirements of the Charter also to ourselves, respecting always Church law as it applies to bishops," the Episcopal Commitment from 2002 reads.
"In such cases, the Metropolitan will be informed when an allegation has been made against a bishop (the senior suffragan bishop will be informed when an allegation has been made against a Metropolitan)."
Cupich noted that Cardinal Timothy Dolan followed this commitment in his handling of accusations of abuse against former cardinal Archbishop Theodore McCarrick.
"It's important to remember that we have this commitment already in place, not to quibble with this provision here, but to call us to that kind of responsibility," Cupich said.
Fielding further questions and comments from the bishops, Gomez clarified that the hotline would accept complaints from everyone, such as parents or teachers or lawyers, and not just from victims themselves.
The cost of the hotline would be about $8,500 per year, including a $2,500 set-up cost, he said.
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn expressed concern that the complaints would only be made anonymously, to which Gomez responded that eventually, some victims would have to make their identities known, because "an anonymous complaint is not going to go anywhere."
Bishop Donald Trautman, who served as Bishop of Erie, Pennsylvania from 1990 until his 2012 retirement, commented that he thought the third-party reporting system was "dangerous and unjust" because it would bring to the U.S. nuncio accusations that were "not investigated, not substantiated, not proven. That's unjust."
The bishops then broke for lunch before reconvening about more abuse-handling proposals in the afternoon.