Vatican Law Changed to Protect Victims

(ReliableNews.org) – The Vatican has a long-standing history of turning a blind eye to abuse cases involving its clergy members. They have spent decades transferring priests accused of abusing parishioners and of avoiding any legal consequences as an institution. However, all that appears to change this week.

Pope Francis changed Catholic Church law regarding the sexual abuse of adults by priests and other clergy members. The Vatican News reported on June 1 that the Pope revised several sections of the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law. The Pope placed particular emphasis on reworking the “precise determination of penalties” for certain offenses.

 

Two sections, articles 1395 and 1398, addressed past shortcomings in the Catholic Church’s handling of matters concerning sexual abuse. Those articles now recognize that adults, as well as children, can be harmed by members of the clergy “who abuse their authority.” The new articles also hold lay people like school officials accountable for abusing both minors and adults. They also remove the ability of bishops and other church officials to ignore or cover up abuse crimes in the future easily.

The new laws go into effect on December 8, 2021.

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