- Jan 25, 2020
Like American law, victims of clerical sexual abuse are not parties to criminal procedures, but could that change?
Despite Pope Francis’s decision on Tuesday to abolish pontifical secrecy in cases of abuse, experts have said the secret is still relevant, and serves the needs of confidentiality in several other areas of the Church.
Pope Francis issued two legal documents Tuesday, one loosening the degree of secrecy that applies to clerical abuse cases and the other raising the age for what constitutes child pornography to 18 and permitting lay people to act as advocates in abuse cases.
According to one expert in Church law, carrying out the recent suppression of an Argentine religious institute is a complicated, messy and time-consuming process that no churchman looks forward to. Yet for victims thirsting for justice, explanations aren’t enough – they want action.
The search for Christian unity must involve all aspects of the churches’ lives, including their different church laws, Pope Francis said.
Most of the discussion on abuse inside the Catholic Church has focused on priests, yet with numerous scandals erupting inside lay movements and associations, experts and Vatican officials are increasingly engaging these entities on the issue.