There’s still a mystery here that hasn’t been cleared up. Where were the policies set? Cardinal Mahoney did apologize for “not taking the issue seriously,” claiming it was a grave mistake. But to what extent does the Vatican set these policies, to what extent are the Bishops and Cardinals simply following orders from the Vatican.
What was the benefit to keeping these abusers around? Certainly they benefited from no one wanting to look too long or closely at their behavior. There was also the mistaken belief that prayer and therapy could turn these guys around. The abusers also worked under a cloak of lies and secrecy, but all of the Church hierarchy also aided and abetted this secrecy and thus the ability of these guys to keep abusing.
Now that the Church has seen the fear of God in the US court system, maybe things will change. But maybe not, maybe this is just one large PR move, we’ll see if any policies actually change or if its all window dressing on the Titanic.