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BY Jimmy Akin
News service Romereports.com is carrying a story stating that the Holy See will soon issue tough new norms regarding priestly sex abuse and that these norms will apply to the whole world. (Up to now the Holy See has allowed nations where a paedophlia scandal emerged to craft their own norms.)
According to the story,
The Vatican will prepare a set of new more efficient measures to prevent sex abuse in the Church. The measures are expected to be presented in the fall, but could be released sooner due to the urgent need for stronger policies.
The measures will be part of the Church’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy on sex abuse.
The goal is to implement the norms adopted by the Catholic Church in the U.S. in 2002, world wide. Those measures have been credited with decreasing the number of new sex abuse cases. They’ve also helped to teach 6 million students how to recognize and report abuse and are the reason why anyone who works with children in the Church must go through a background check first.
Similar measures have been implemented in the United Kingdom and will soon be adopted in Germany and Austria.
According to the Italian press, Archbishop Luis Ladaria, the Secretary for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, is in charge of crafting the new rules. The new rules will include a fast path to defrock priests guilty of abuse.
The rules will also include temporarily suspending priests who are under investigation. Reporting cases to law enforcement will also be mandatory along with the handing over of any documents needed for the investigation.
But unlike civil law, the Church will not establish a statue of limitations, therefore guilty priests can be punished even after many years have gone by since they committed the crimes.
Though we don’t know if this story is true since there has been no formal announcement of the norms, and while they may not be perfectly drafted, at least in broad outlines this is one of the best things the Church could do to address the situation.
Is this enough? Not enough? What are the pitfalls?