Thursday, July 15, 2010

Vatican Approves New Rules on Sex Abuse

Here is one of many stories about them.
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican issued a revised set of in-house rules Thursday to respond to clerical sex abuse, targeting priests who molest the mentally disabled as well as children and priests who use child pornography, but making few substantive changes to existing practice.

The new rules make no mention of the need for bishops to report clerical sex abuse to police, provide no canonical sanctions for bishops who cover up for abusers and do not include any "one-strike and you're out" policy for pedophile priests as demanded by some victims.

As a result, they failed to satisfy victims' advocates, who said the revised rules amounted to little more than "administrative housekeeping" of existing practice when what was needed were bold new rules threatening bishops who fail to report molester priests.

The rules cover the canonical penalties and procedures used for the most grave crimes in the church, both sacramental and moral, and double the statute of limitations applied to them. One new element included lists the attempted ordination of women as a "grave crime" subject to the same set of procedures and punishments meted out for sex abuse.

That drew immediate criticism from women's ordination groups, who said making a moral equivalent between women priests and child rapists was offensive.

The Vatican's sex crimes prosecutor acknowledged it was "only a document," and didn't solve the problem of clerical abuse. He defended the lack of any mention of the need to report abuse to police, saying all Christians were required to obey civil laws that would already demand sex crimes be reported.

"If civil law requires you report, you must obey civil law," Monsignor Charles Scicluna told reporters. But "it's not for canonical legislation to get itself involved with civil law." Continue reading.
The US Bishops have issued two statements on the norms.
1 - Thanking the Vatican for the new norms.
2 - About the clarification on women's ordination being a "grave crime".

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