An admission that the Sydney Catholic archdiocese provides financial support for convicted paedophile priests has drawn outrage from sex abuse survivors at a royal commission.
Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher told the inquiry the church supports convicted Catholic clergy living in the community.
"That would include assistance with housing and some other kinds of assistance," he told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
"I am so angry at what they have done, I don't want to give them anything further by way of help, but throwing them back on their family or community ... others would say that's just the church washing its hand again of responsibility.
"It's a situation of damned if we do and damned if we don't."
Archbishop Fisher, along with archbishops from Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, faced their second day of questioning at the inquiry into Catholic church authorities.
He told the commission the church could not confidently monitor convicted paedophile priests in the community.
"I can't pretend we have remotely sufficient supervision for me to be assured they are not misbehaving again, that they are no risk," he said.
"People can be very deceptive and clever in not letting on what they are up to."
Archbishop Fisher's comments drew the ire of Catholic church sex abuse survivors, many of whom say they have not been compensated fairly.
The inquiry has previously heard a recent reassessment of claims relating to the Christian Brothers order found almost 170 people were underpaid $14 million.
Outside the hearing, survivor advocate Gabrielle Short questioned how the church could justify financially supporting convicted priests when many survivors lived in poverty.
Advocate Mark Fabbro described the church's internal complaints handling schemes, Towards Healing and the Melbourne Response, as "failures" that have not adequately compensated victims.
"It's clear they are still in the mode of protecting the church at all costs," he said.
"The priority seems to lie with putting the interests of the church before the interests of the victims."
Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart told the inquiry the future of the Melbourne Response was under consideration ahead of the introduction of a national redress scheme next year.
"I'd have to take advice on the pros and cons with that but I'd certainly be prepared to look at it," he said.
The inquiry heard the archbishops would directly inform Pope Francis of the concerns raised at the royal commission, which has spent the past three weeks examining factors that led to a high proportion of child sexual abuse in the Catholic church.
Archbishop of Brisbane Mark Coleridge said the Vatican was too far removed from victims.
"One of the difficulties that the Holy See faces is that at times these are people who have never been at the coalface," he said.
"They have never sat down with victims. They haven't heard the stories. They haven't listened to the pain. As long as that continues there will be fumbling ... from the Holy See."
The five archbishops indicated support for a new national regulator, Catholic Professional Standards Ltd, which will set, enforce and audit new benchmarks.
Archbishop Fisher told the inquiry the body would lead to greater transparency and accountability within the church.
"Clearly what we don't want is any risk of returning to era of cover-ups and excuses and avoiding scrutiny," he said.
The hearing, before Justice Peter McClellan, has adjourned.
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