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Holy See Creates Judicial Body for Abuse Cases

Jeffrey Bruno

Vatican Radio - published on 11/11/14

Bishops accused of grave crimes to have case examined by entire Congregation.

The Holy See announced the creation of a new judicial body within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Tuesday, for the specific purpose of dealing with the most serious crimes (delicta graviora), specifically: the sexual abuse of minors, and certain serious abuses associated with the Sacrament of Penance. The new body is to be a college composed of seven cardinals or bishops (who may be members of the Congregation, but are not required to be members thereof), chosen by the Holy Father.

Paragraph 4 of the Rescript creating the new college offers a special provision for bishops accused of grave crimes: any bishop accused of grave crimes shall have his case examined by the whole body of members of the Congregation – the Ordinary Session – which may also examine other specific cases upon papal request, and/or examine cases refered to it by the newly created college.

The rescript also requires the college periodically to inform the Ordinary Session of its decisions (Paragraph 5), and specifies that the new laws enter into effect on November 11, 2014, upon their appearance in the edition of L’Osservatore Romano – the official newspaper and gazette of the Holy See – bearing the same date. 

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