Earlier today, the Holy See's Press Office issued a news release about the work of the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, which held its first meetings this past weekend. According to the statement, the Commission approved an initial proposal regarding accountability for bishops who fail to uphold their obligations to create a safe environment.

'The Commission is keenly aware that the issue of accountability is of major importance. In its Assembly, members agreed on an initial proposal to submit to Pope Francis for consideration. Moreover, the Commission is developing processes to ensure accountability for everyone in the Church - clergy, religious, and laity - who work with minors.

Part of ensuring accountability is raising awareness and understanding at all levels of the Church regarding the seriousness and urgency in implementing correct safeguarding procedures. To this end, the Commission also agreed to develop seminars to educate Church leadership in the area of the protection of minors.'

After the Commission's press conference, the National Catholic Reporter was able to interview Commission members about the proposals. According to NCR, Marie Collins, one of two Commission members who experienced sexual abuse by a member of the clergy, was asked about the process of accountability in light of the fact that only Pope Francis can remove bishops. Collins reportedly responded,  'Currently, yes.'  The NCR also reports that she went on to note, 'All I can say is the commission is working on a means by which bishops can be made accountable, and if that goes forward ... there will be an answer to this problem.'

If this is indeed the case, Archbishop Nienstedt might have more to worry about then just the state of the bankruptcy mediation, about which I will have more to say later today.  



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    Jennifer Haselberger is a canon lawyer who served as the Chancellor for Canonical Affairs in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis until April of 2013, when she resigned in protest of the Archdiocese's handling of sexual misconduct by clergy.

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