Yesterday, Pope Francis issued sweeping new reforms for reporting clergy sex abuse.
“Vox estis lux mundi (You are the light of the world), is an enormous step forward in addressing the crisis of clergy sex abuse and its coverup that has been crippling the church for decades,” said Russ Petrus, Co-Director of FutureChurch. “The apostolic letter moves the church toward a new era of accountability.”
The motu proprio adds new requirements for all Catholic dioceses around the world which is significant.
· Every diocese in the world must establish public, accessible and reliable protocols within one year and report on their model to the Vatican.
· All clerics and religious are mandatory reporters.
· The metropolitan bishop is mandated to investigate claims against bishops or superiors.
· Firm timelines are in place –investigations begin within 30 days, resolution of cases within 90 days.
· Retaliation against those reporting crimes or silencing of victims is prohibited. Any obstruction of investigating a claim by a cleric is prohibited.
· The cover up of abuse is as serious as the crime of abuse.
“While we are pleased with the direction of this motu proprio, it does not go far enough in strengthening the accountability structure,” said Co-Director,Deborah Rose-Milavec. “These new norms continue rely on the same clerics who covered up crimes against children; fails to incorporate lay persons in every aspect of oversight; and does not mandate those with authority to report crimes to civil authorities.”
“In October, Cardinal Blaise Cupich urged bishops to ‘cede authority’ to an outside investigative body and to incorporate lay expert, according to Petrus. 'Pope Francis’s efforts would be more effective had he mandated and authorized lay people to be an integral part in these oversight processes.”
FutureChurch encourages all Catholics to speak with their bishops and advocate for lay involvement as diocesan protocols and processes are reviewed in light of "Vos estis lux mundi."