Bishop Richard Malone of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo spoke to Spectrum News Wednesday, as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wrapped up its three-day gathering in Maryland.

The conference’s final day focused on another in-depth debate over the clergy abuse crisis.

The group was supposed to vote on a code of conduct for Bishops and a special commission for receiving complaints against Bishops.

Yet the Vatican requested the group hold off until after it discussed the issue at a February meeting in Rome.

"Well we were all caught off guard by it. No one saw that coming,” Bishop Malone said of the delay. “We're all kind of frustrated, to tell you the truth. And I am, too, that we can't take some action steps now in this country."

The group hopes to gather for a special voting session in March, ahead of its regular June meeting.

On Tuesday, when the subject was raised, Fr. David Whitestone said the church is facing "painful times." 

"We can never become complacent. We must recommit to the on-going care of all victims and their healing,” said Whitestone, a member of the conference's National Advisory Council. “Wounds inflicted even many years ago are no less real because of the passing of time."

Other members of the group's council are also calling on the bishops to resolve the crisis with a renewed sense of urgency and importance.

Some went on to commend the progress made addressing the abuse crisis, through the efforts and implementation of the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

"None the less, your response to this crisis has been incomplete,” said Dr. Francesco Cesareo, National Review Board chair for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.  “Specifically, current events reveal a continued lack of transparency about past cases of abuse, and the way they were handled, as well as a lack of accountability for bishops."