It seems foolish to call for to-day's bishops to resign on account of negligence (or worse) committed during the (mal)administration of their predecessors. Let us consider the current crop of Australian bishops, and when they took up the reins (by ordination or succession) in their dioceses, (past and) present (recalling that auxiliary bishops have no power whatsoever, being but "confirmation stooges", to quote a certain prelate in northern NSW):
The Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn is presently vacant; the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes is also vacant (and by all accounts will be officially suppressed soon enough).
Those who took charge in the last six years – thirteen bishops:
- Father Harry Entwistle, Ordinary of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross since 2012;
- His Grace Timothy Costelloe, Archbishop of Perth since 2012 (auxiliary bishop in Melbourne 2007-2012);
- His Lordship Robert McGuckin, Bishop of Toowoomba since 2012;
- His Lordship Paul Bird, Bishop of Ballarat since 2012;
- His Lordship Leslie Tomlinson, Bishop of Sandhurst since 2012 (auxiliary bishop in Melbourne 2009-2012);
- His Lordship Michael Kennedy, Bishop of Armidale since 2012;
- His Lordship William Wright, Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle since 2011;
- His Lordship Robert Rabbat, Bishop of the Melkite Eparchy of St Michael of Sydney since 2011;
- His Lordship Anthony Fisher, Bishop of Parramatta since 2010 (auxiliary bishop in Sydney 2003-2010);
- His Lordship Gregory O'Kelly, Bishop of Port Pirie since 2009 (auxiliary bishop in Adelaide 2006-2009);
- His Lordship Michael McKenna, Bishop of Bathurst since 2009;
- His Lordship Christopher Prowse, Bishop of Sale since 2009 (auxiliary bishop in Melbourne 2003-2009);
- His Grace Mark Coleridge, Archbishop of Brisbane since 2012, Archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn 2006-2012 (auxiliary bishop in Melbourne 2002-2006).
Those who took charge more than six years ago, but within the last twelve years – eight bishops:
- His Lordship Max Davis, Bishop of the Military Ordinariate of Australia since 2003;
- His Lordship Ad Abi Karam, Bishop of the Maronite Eparchy of St Maron of Sydney since 2002;
- His Lordship Gerard Hanna, Bishop of Wagga Wagga since 2002;
- His Grace Denis Hart, Archbishop of Melbourne since 2001 (auxiliary bishop in Melbourne 1997-2001);
- His Lordship Gerard Holohan, Bishop of Bunbury since 2001;
- His Lordship Geoffrey Jarrett, Bishop of Lismore since 2001;
- His Lordship Michael Putney, Bishop of Townsville since 2001 (auxiliary bishop in Brisbane 1995-2001);
- His Lordship Peter Ingham, Bishop of Wollongong since 2001 (auxiliary bishop in Sydney 1993-2001).
Those who took charge more than twelve years ago, but within the last twenty-one years – eleven bishops:
- His Lordship Daniel Hurley, Bishop of Darwin since 2007, and Bishop of Port Pirie 1999-2007;
- His Grace Adrian Doyle, Archbishop of Hobart since 1999 (ordained coadjutor with right of succession in 1998);
- His Eminence George Cardinal Pell, Archbishop of Sydney since 2001, Archbishop of Melbourne 1996-2001 (Auxiliary Bishop in Melbourne 1987-1996);
- His Grace Philip Wilson, Archbishop of Adelaide since 2001, and Bishop of Woollongong 1996-2000;
- His Grace Djibrail Kassab, Archbishop of the Chaldean Eparchy of St Thomas of Sydney since 2006, Chaldean Archbishop of Basra 1996-2006;
- His Lordship David Walker, Bishop of Broken Bay since 1996;
- His Lordship Christopher Saunders, Bishop of Broome since 1996;
- His Lordship Peter Stasiuk, Bishop of the Ukrainian Eparchy of SS Peter and Paul of Melbourne since 1993;
- His Lordship James Foley, Bishop of Cairns since 1992;
- His Lordship Justin Bianchini, Bishop of Geraldton since 1992;
- His Lordship Brian Heenan, Bishop of Rockhampton since 1991.
Since, in the words of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference press release regarding the imminent Royal Commission, major reforms for dealing better with the scourge of child abuse have been implemented during the last twenty years, and "[m]uch of the public discussion is about how the Church dealt with cases 20 or more years ago", it would seem more likely that the various retired bishops of Australia (those still alive) are probably those who most need to tremble in their boots...
Of course, if any of the above are found derelict in their duty, one hopes they will rediscover their honour, and do the honourable thing.