New laws to combat sexual abuse within the Catholic Church

New laws were introduced on Thursday by Pope Francis in a direct response to increasing reports of sex abuse within the Catholic Church. 

Eliza Archer
Eliza Archer NewsMavens, Europe
New laws to combat sexual abuse within the Catholic Church - NewsMavens
Pope Francis I, Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

In a Vatican first, new laws just signed by Pope Francis, will require all members of the Catholic Church, including priests, nuns and other clerics to “promptly” report cases of sex abuse to authorities within the Church in new “concrete and effective actions” that hope to prevent abuse within the Church in the future.  

The laws include specifics such as: this will apply to abuse against both children and adults; a confidential means of reporting incidences will be required in all dioceses; and individual members of the church suspected of possessing child pornography, or covering up abuse should also be reported.

Alongside the announcement, Pope Francis said, "The crimes of sexual abuse offend Our Lord, cause physical, psychological and spiritual damage to the victims and harm the community of the faithful. Even if so much has already been accomplished, we must continue to learn from the bitter lessons of the past, looking with hope towards the future."

The new laws come after long heard demands from victims, support and advocacy groups. Despite the progress, it does not go as far as they had hoped, failing to call for the immediate removal of offending individuals and failing to require abuse revealed during confessionals to be documented.  

Details from the story:

  • Complaints and allegations will also be received directly to the Vatican if necessary.
  • Both medical and physiological assistance and support should be provided to the victims.
  • The new laws were signed on Thursday.
  • They are in response to increasing reports of sex-abuse across the world from within the Catholic Church.
  • The move has been praised by members of the church and community, with some churches already moving to implement the necessary procedures. 

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