Vatican law: Priests, nuns must report sex abuse, cover-up

10 Mai, 2019, 05:25 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Pope Francis does the sign of the cross during his weekly general audience

In March, Francis signed a law that made it compulsory to report child abuse within the Vatican and its diplomatic missions. Collins also is dissatisfied there are no sanctions for violating the reporting and investigative procedures contained in the law.

"Bishops watching bishops does not work", she said.

"The Motu Proprio establishes and codifies procedures that all the Church must follow in responding to sexual abuse - not just of minors, but also of vulnerable adults, as well as cases of sexual abuse through intimidation and coercion by those in positions of authority", Cardinal Dolan said.

She says there should be an exception for when a separate criminal investigation is underway by law enforcement, since notifying a suspect could interfere with the probe.

The new papal order follows an unprecedented February summit in Rome where survivors urged the church to adopt a zero-tolerance policy in abuse cases, reports CBS News.

Anne Barrett Doyle of the advocacy and investigative group BishopAccountability.org said the law Pope Francis issued on Thursday does not include penalties for failing to adhere to reporting and investigating procedures.

The new guidelines were welcomed by some Vatican commentators, who argued that they broke new ground in attempts to end Church sexual abuse.

In addition, by June 2020, each diocese must set up "stable and easily accessible systems for submission of reports" by the public, although the design of such confidential systems or offices was left to the discretion of the local church, according to the pope's decree.

The decree sets time limits for local investigations and the Vatican's response to them, and allows for retroactive reporting.

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Members of the clergy will be required and laity are encouraged to "report promptly" all accusations of abuse and any instances that they know of involving omissions to church authorities, the news release said.

Houston Cardinal Daniel DiNardo says the edict is a "blessing that will empower the church everywhere to bring predators to justice no matter what rank they hold in the church".

The decree also comes as USA bishops are preparing to meet next month to consider new steps toward accountability in abuse claims.

The procedures published Thursday are likely to form a key legal framework for US bishops when they meet in Baltimore June 11-13 to adopt new accountability procedures, though it will certainly force them to scrap their existing proposals and make them conform to the new law.

In a statement, DiNardo says US committees are already working on preparing measures to implement the new law.

But the law is essentially a variation of a counterproposal to DiNardo's planned measures made previous year by Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich, envisaging using the metropolitan bishop aided by lay experts to investigate bishops.

Pope Francis has issued a landmark decree making bishops directly accountable for sexual abuse or covering it up, requiring clerics to report any cases to Catholic Church superiors. And it outlines internal procedures for conducting preliminary investigations when the accused is a bishop, cardinal or religious superior.

It's the latest effort by Francis to respond to the global eruption of the sex abuse and cover-up scandal that has devastated the credibility of the Catholic hierarchy and his own papacy.

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