- Jan 16, 2021
The Vatican presented a new high-level task force Friday intended to help national and regional bishops’ conferences around the world, as well as religious orders, to develop and update their guidelines on child protection and the fight against abuse.
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.
The U.N. expert on child sexual abuse praised the Vatican’s decision to abolish the rule of “pontifical secret” for abuse cases and urged further reforms to ensure more justice for victims.
When Pope Francis in a landmark move eliminated the so-called “pontifical secret” in clerical abuse cases on Tuesday, the decision turns out to be at least one instance when the Vatican, clerical abuse survivors and experts in child protection all agree.
For most American Catholics, the unfinished business of the abuse scandals isn’t cooperation with civil authorities, which, for the most part, has been a given for a couple of decades. It’s accountability for the cover-up as well as the crime.
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.