Pope Francis met with some alleged victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clerics and asked for forgiveness.
“Before God and his people, I express my sorrow for the sins and grave crimes of clerical sexual abuse committed against you,” Francis said during his homily, according to a text released by the Vatican. “And I humbly ask forgiveness. I beg your forgiveness, too, for the sins of omission on the part of church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse made by family members, as well as by abuse victims themselves.”
In his homily, Francis also vowed “not to tolerate harm done to a minor by any individual, whether a cleric or not,” and declared that bishops would be held accountable for protecting minors. He said the abuse scandals had had “a toxic effect on faith and hope in God.”
Go here to read the rest. The only involvement any Bishop should have when hearing someone complain about misconduct by a priest of a criminal nature is to tell them to go to the police. Bishops are not cops or detectives and they get into trouble when they take on such a role. Many allegations of priestly misconduct are not provable and it is best to let the police make that determination. The Bishop can take action against any priest he believes is guilty of misconduct, but that is no substitute for getting the police involved quickly in an alleged criminal case, scandal be hanged. While the priest is undergoing an investigation by the police he should be suspended from his duties. Bishops and Cardinals protecting criminal priests over the years now requires putting into place mechanisms which may well tarnish the reputation of honest priests, but sadly there is no help for that.