Australia's child abuse royal commission should not expect to change the Catholic Church with some "magic bullet", priests have warned.
The commission needs to be realistic that changing the Catholic Church as a whole will not happen, Diocese of Broken Bay vicar general Dr David Ranson said.
"It's not going to change the theology of the church. It's not going to change the structure of the universal church. It's beyond the ambit of the royal commission to do that."
The commission is looking at issues such as the church's structure and governance, canon law, and celibacy as it examines why widespread abuse occurred over decades in Catholic institutions.
Dr Ranson said the Catholic Church was a community of communities, each of which had to examine why abuse occurred in their particular community.
"Because of the extraordinary constellation which is this thing we call the church that is so multifaceted across the world, the church is not going to change as an entire organisation simply because of the commission," the parish priest told the commissioners.
Aquinas Academy director and Sydney parish priest Dr Michael Whelan agreed.
"You can't come in with some magic bullet or any kind of program that's going to put it all together. We are not BHP, thank God."
Pope Francis, who established the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, was trying to make changes but was getting pushback, the commission heard.
Asked about the Vatican making changes to the way priests are managed, Dr Whelan said he would like to see more leadership on the issue.
"Pope Francis is trying to do that and it's very significant the amount of pushback he is getting.
"It's not just a matter of the Vatican or the leadership. He's getting pushback from within the Curia obviously."
Dr Ranson said the commission should be a catalyst for a continuing inquiry within the Australian church.
The public hearing continues on Tuesday.