Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Pope Creates Tribunal for Bishop Negligence in Child Sexual Abuse Cases

ROME — Pope Francis has approved the creation of a Vatican tribunal for judging bishops accused of covering up or failing to act in cases of child sexual abuse by priests, an unprecedented step long demanded by victims in the more than three decades that the Roman Catholic Church has publicly dealt with the abuse scandal.
Bishops, regarded as “princes of the church” and sovereign in their dioceses, until now could be disciplined only directly by the pope, but until Francis, no pope had publicly confronted or demoted even those bishops accused of gross negligence. Under Francis’ predecessors — Pope Benedict XVI and, before him, John Paul II — the Vatican defrocked about 850 priests for sexual abuse and penalized about 2,500 more, but there was no similar judicial mechanism for bishops.
Advocates for abuse victims had a range of reactions, from skepticism to watchful optimism.


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