The 'pontifical secret' rule used in clergy sex abuse cases, scraped by Pope Francis - Simply News and Entertainment Reports - Nollywood Times

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Thursday, December 19, 2019

The 'pontifical secret' rule used in clergy sex abuse cases, scraped by Pope Francis

 Pope Francis introduced the new rules for his 83rd birthday Credit: REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/File Photo

The "pontifical secret" used in clergy sexual abuse cases, has been abolished by Pope Francis, after mounting criticism that the high degree of confidentiality has been used to protect pedophiles, silence victims and keep law enforcement from investigating related crimes.

According to the Telegraph UK report, Pope Francis in a new document, decreed that information in abuse cases must be protected by church leaders to ensure its "security, integrity and confidentiality."

But he said "pontifical secret" no longer applies to abuse-related accusations, trials and decisions under the Catholic Church's canon law.

Francis also raised from 14 to 18 the cutoff age below which the Vatican considers pornographic images to be child pornography.

The new laws were issued Tuesday, Francis' 83rd birthday, as he struggles to respond to the global explosion of the abuse scandal, his own missteps and demands for greater transparency and accountability from victims, law enforcement and ordinary Catholics alike.

The new norms are the latest amendment to the Catholic Church's in-house canon law - a parallel legal code that metes out ecclesial justice for crimes against the faith.

In this legal system, the worst punishment a priest can incur is being defrocked, or dismissed from the clerical state.
The 'pontifical secret' rule used in clergy sex abuse cases, scraped by Pope Francis
 The church has been rocked by numerous sex scandals Credit: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
Pope Benedict XVI had decreed in 2001 that these cases must be dealt with under "pontifical secret," the highest form of secrecy in the church.

The Vatican had long insisted that such confidentiality was necessary to protect the privacy of the victim, the reputation of the accused and the integrity of the canonical process.

However, such secrecy also served to keep the scandal hidden, prevent law enforcement from accessing documents and silence victims, many of whom often believed that "pontifical secret" prevented them from going to the police to report their priestly abusers.....READ MORE>>>

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