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Pope updates Catholic Church rules for dealing with sexual abuse

Pope Francis has revised the rules of the church regarding sexual abuse. He expanded its scope to include lay Catholic leaders, and clarified that victims can be both minors or adults.

It is a follow-up to a landmark declaration in 2019 which made it mandatory for priests and religious order members to report suspicions of abuse. It holds bishops accountable for any abuse or cover-up they may have committed.

These provisions were originally introduced temporarily, but the Vatican announced on Saturday that they would be made final starting April 30th and will include additional elements to strengthen the fight against abuse within church.

In the ten years since abuse scandals destroyed the reputation of the Vatican, Pope Francis has taken a number of steps to hold the hierarchy responsible.


He was also subject to intense scrutiny after the 2018 global church sex abuse scandal hit headlines. He was even accused of knowing about some allegations and helping to cover them.

He spoke in 2019 and pledged to fight the “destructive evil”, child sex abuse within Catholic churches.

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2019: Pope urges for an all-out fight against child abuse

Critics say that the results were mixed and accuse Francis of not being willing to offend abusive prelates.

New allegations of sexual abuse

A month ago, the Roman Catholic religious order Jesuits stated that accusations of sexual, psychological, and spiritual abuse against one its most prominent members was “highly credible”.

A total of 25 people, most of them former nuns, have accused Father Marko IIvan Rupnik (69), of various forms abuse. He was either a spiritual director in his native Slovenia, about 30 years ago, or he moved to Rome to pursue a career as an artist.

Rupnik has not publicly addressed the allegations.

Continue reading:

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The original rules dealt with sexual acts against minors and vulnerable people. However, the new version includes a broad definition of victims. It refers to crimes committed with a minor, with someone who has an imperfect use or with a vulnerable adult.

According to the Vatican, Church members are required to report violence against religious women by clergy and harassment of adult seminarians and novices.


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