Pope Francis has created a commission to advise him on priest sex abuse, but it’s unclear whether the group will wield any power against abusers and bishops who cover up for them, report the Daily Beast and the AP.
The commission consists of four men, three of whom are priests, and four women, all laity, one of whom was sexually abused by a priest and advocates for child safety in the Catholic Church.
Another woman, French psychologist Catherine Bonnet, has written at length about child sex abuse. But it’s not clear exactly what the commission will do—Pope Francis preferred to let its members work out the details, the Boston Globe reports.
Broadly speaking, the commission will advise on policies that safeguard children, keep abusers from becoming priests, and train members of the church.
Francis created the commission after remarks he made defending the church’s record on abuse led to a political firestorm, with one group accusing him of stonewalling on five alleged abuse cases as archbishop in Buenos Aires.
And critics are still skeptical: “They do not need yet another ‘Study Commission,'” said a victim advocacy group. “The pope must take strong steps right now to protect kids, expose predators, discipline enablers, and uncover cover-ups.” (For more, see why Francis called some priests “little monsters.”)