A new papal commission on sex abuse has ended its first meeting at the Vatican.
Members pledged to ensure that abusive or negligent clerics be held accountable, regardless of their rank in the Church.
In many cases of abuse, most of which took place decades ago but surfaced in the past 15 years, bishops seeking to protect the Church’s reputation moved priests from parish to parish instead of defrocking them or handing them over to police.
“We see ensuring accountability in the Church as especially important,” the commission said in a statement.
Made up of four men and four women from eight countries, it includes an Irish woman who was a victim of abuse.
In February, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child accused the Vatican of systematically turning a blind eye to decades of abuse and attempting to cover up sex crimes. The Vatican called the report unfair and ideologically slanted.
Last month, Pope Francis sought forgiveness for the damage caused to children by abusers in the clergy.