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Pope scraps ‘pontifical secret’ in abuse cases

Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on Sunday Associated Press/Photo by Alessandra Tarantino

Pope scraps ‘pontifical secret’ in abuse cases

The Roman Catholic Church will treat accusations, proceedings, and decisions involving clergy abuse with a lower level of confidentiality, Pope Francis announced Tuesday. While in-house legal proceedings still will not be public, the new rule says official secrecy will no longer impede civil law proceedings. Francis also increased the age separating child and adult pornography from 14 to 18.

Will this aid the crackdown on abuse? Many praised Francis for changing a system that has protected abusers and hindered lawmakers’ response. Archbishop Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s leading sex crimes investigator, said the reform will strengthen cooperation with civil law enforcement and open up lines of communication with victims.

Dig deeper: Read Rachel Lynn Aldrich’s report in The Sift on the resignation of a New York Catholic bishop accused of mishandling sex abuse cases.

Onize Ohikere

Onize is WORLD’s Africa reporter. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and earned a journalism degree from Minnesota State University–Moorhead. Onize resides in Abuja, Nigeria.



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