No one could question the fact that the Catholic Church has inordinate power – but in the case of paedophilia, it has been power without glory.
The present crisis in the church has arisen in an environment of appalling leadership permeating from the Vatican throughout all levels of authority.
At a conference in 2002, American bishops resolved to turn priests accused of sexual and other abuse of children over to criminal authorities.
The conference resulted in the bishops adopting a Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, and has done much to bring to justice the American clergy who abused the young.
The opportunity exists for Catholic bishops of Australia to follow the same path that their American counterparts followed.
Even at this late stage, the Australian bishops should decide now to turn priests so accused over to the police.
They should not wait for the outcome of the Royal Commission to demand that they do this.
Had such leadership been exercised earlier, many young victims in Australia could have been saved from great suffering.