KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops on Thursday resisted calls for major changes in their child sex-abuse policy despite recent cases involving priests in Kansas City and Philadelphia.

Critics say those cases raise questions about whether some bishops are even following the policy, which was crafted nine years ago to address the sex-abuse crisis that was rocking the church. They reacted swiftly after Thursday’s 187-5 vote, which approved a few revisions, including listing child pornography as a violation of church law.

“We are dismayed that the new policy is almost identical to the current policy, despite horrifying recent evidence in Kansas City and Philadelphia that the church’s current policies are dangerously lenient and full of loopholes,” said Terence McKiernan, president of BishopAccountability.org, a group that operates an online database of accused priests.

“The policy needs to be overhauled. This is a squandered opportunity and a disaster for children, not only in the United States but worldwide,” he said.

But Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Spokane, Wash., chairman of the bishops’ Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People, said the charter has been effective.

“The charter has served the church well,” he told about 200 bishops on Wednesday as he explained some adjustments.

“The charter works,” Cupich said. “It is a helpful tool as we keep our pledge to protect children, promote healing and rebuild trust with our people. The decisions that we made are now having a positive impact on the universal church.” The revisions, adopted Thursday during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Spring General Assembly in Bellevue, Wash., bring the charter in line with recent Vatican norms that include child pornography as a crime against church law and say abusing a mentally disabled person is equivalent to child abuse. The revised document also instructs church officials to report allegations against bishops to the pope’s representative in the U.S. as well as to police.

A recent grand jury investigation in Philadelphia found that Cardinal Justin Rigali allowed 37 accused priests to continue working around children in Catholic parishes. The grand jury also charged a former archdiocesan official with endangerment of children for allegedly transferring accused priests to other parishes.

And last month, Bishop Robert Finn of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese acknowledged that he did not heed past warnings about the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, a priest now charged with possessing child pornography.

Finn attended the bishops’ conference but did not respond to requests for comment.

Ratigan, who is being held on $200,000 bond, made a brief court appearance in Clay County court on Thursday. The case was continued to July 21.