Social Issues

Pope revises Catholic Church penal code, adds tougher rules on sexual abuse

Vatican City, Jun 1 (EFE).- Pope Francis has issued a revision to the laws of the Catholic Church, including stricter rules on reporting child abuse.

The pope reformed articles in the sixth of the seven books that comprise the Code of Canon Law, last updated by John Paul II in 1983.

Francis said: “It required modification in such a way as to allow Pastors to employ it as a more agile salvific and corrective tool, to be applied promptly and with pastoral charity to avoid more serious evils and to soothe the wounds caused by human weakness.”

The changes, plans for which began under Benedict XVI, will come into effect on December 8.

Archbishop Filippo Iannone, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative texts, explained that the canonical penal law needed an overhaul to respond to “irregular situations” and recent scandals in the church, many of which are linked to revelations of child sexual abuse and peadophilia.

“The relationship of interpenetration between justice and mercy has at times been misinterpreted,” he added, which he said fed a climate of “laxity” in the church.

As well as stricter guidelines on reporting child abuse, which has been classified as a Crime Against Human Life Dignity and Liberty, other articles added to the penal code include measures to be taken against the attempted ordination of women, the recording of confessions and corruption.

Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative texts, said: “The crime of child abuse is now framed not within the crimes against the special obligations of clerics, but as a crime committed against the dignity of the person.”EFE


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