Bishops to stand trial for paedophile priest cover-ups

(AGI) Vatican City, June 10 - Pope Francis has decided on asignificant "change of pace" in the fight against sexual abuseby paedophile priests. As of Wednesday June 10 the Congregationfor the Doctrine of the Faith will have the power to try thosebishops who covered up complaints received about these seriouscrimes. This is a revolutionary change because "abuse ofepiscopal office" was not hitherto one of the "seriousoffences" reserved for the CDF. The newspaper L'OsservatoreRomano ran the headline: "A new judicial section for theprotection of minors", but also reported on a major increase

(AGI) Vatican City, June 10 - Pope Francis has decided on asignificant "change of pace" in the fight against sexual abuseby paedophile priests. As of Wednesday June 10 the Congregationfor the Doctrine of the Faith will have the power to try thosebishops who covered up complaints received about these seriouscrimes. This is a revolutionary change because "abuse ofepiscopal office" was not hitherto one of the "seriousoffences" reserved for the CDF. The newspaper L'OsservatoreRomano ran the headline: "A new judicial section for theprotection of minors", but also reported on a major increase inresources to combat abuse. For the Catholic Church this changemarks a real turnaround from the way these issues wereaddressed for many decades. We just have to think of theresistance of entire episcopates to the need - restated byBenedict XVI and then by Pope Francis - to cooperate with civiljustice in prosecuting violators of children and the weak. The offence of "abuse of episcopal office" is now beingredefined but, said Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi,"the connections for this are already in the Code of Canon Law.It hasn't emerged out of nothing. We have defined a procedureby which to address these cases." These words make it clearthat complaints will be heard regarding any past inadequatebehaviour of bishops. It is significant that all members of"C9" voted in favour of trials for "abuse of episcopal office"even including the Australian Cardinal George Pell, thePrefect of the Secretariat for the Economy and formerArchbishop of Melbourne and Sydney, who is currently waiting toappear before an Australian government committee, accused ofhaving badly handled cases of sexual abuse. (AGI).