Pope puts bishops under pressure
Blind faith is often the norm in religious organisations. That is no secret since the European society became aware of the role of priests in sexual violence. A great scandal flared up when the Catholic church revealed its own story of sexual abuses.
Last year the Pope introduced a law for bishops who hush up sexual abuse cases. Now he has gone a step further, including also failure to protect people for whom the church has a duty of care.
In a public decree on 4 June, the Pope sets out the process of de-thronement (unfrocking) for bishops who are guilty of neglecting the duty of care to an underage child or a vulnerable adult. Bishops can also lose their jobs for other gross misconduct – for example in financial matters. Pope Francis repeated the call he has made in the past for zero tolerance of child abuse. In his teaching “Amoris laetitia” – “The joy of love” directed at the Catholic church’s family mores, he denounced the sexual abuse of children as “one of the most scandalous and perverse facts of modern life”.
Up to now there was no proper process for such cases and no effective way of handling them in the church’s own courts. For bishops who protect priests in their employ who are accused there was no sanction in church law. According to the Catholic News portal there was no even any punishment foreseen for bishops who abuse their official positions.
“The sexual abuse of children becomes even more scandalous when it happens in places where they should be protected, especially in families, in schools and in Christian parish communities and institutions, the Pontiff continues in his latest teaching. The Catholic church has been shaken by numerous cases worldwide which often go back for decades.