She cautioned that could lead to attempts by bishops to change or affect board findings before they were made public. A study last year on the extent of sexual abuse was given to bishops only 48 hours before a news conference, she said.
Church critics have been especially angered at how some bishops had moved abusive priests from parish to parish without telling churchgoers.
On Thursday, protesters outside the meeting held placards reading: "Guilty Bishops Must Resign!"
Asked if bishops should be held accountable for such transfers, Levada said he did not think bishops who moved priests in good faith should be faulted. Less was known years ago about the disorder of pedophilia, even among medical experts, he said.
"Do people understand when they're asking for this kind of accountability that they are really expecting that bishops in 1985 or whenever ... [had to] have had some kind of divine illumination?" he asked. He said he knew of no bishop who "consciously reassigned a priest whom he believed was going to abuse a child again." But he said he was open to being informed about such cases if they existed.