Pope approves "abuse of office" proposals for bishops in sex abuse cases
(Holy See Press Office) In the afternoon session of 8 June 2015, the Council of Cardinals received a report from Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, OFM Cap. with a proposal for the Holy Father regarding allegations of the abuse of office by a bishop connected to the abuse of minors, originally prepared by the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. Cardinal O’Malley’s report also included a proposal regarding allegations of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults by clergy.
For each proposal, the report indicated the general terms which define it, issues relating to procedure and to the Tribunal which judges the cases, as well as the advantages of the proposal compared with other possible solutions. The text concludes with a list of five specific proposals made to the Holy Father, which are listed below. It is proposed:
1. That because the competence to receive and investigate complaints of the episcopal abuse of office belongs to the Congregations for Bishops, Evangelization of Peoples, or Oriental Churches there is the duty to report all complaints to the appropriate Congregation.
2. That the Holy Father mandate the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to judge bishops with regard to crimes of the abuse of office when connected to the abuse of minors.
3. That the Holy Father authorize the establishment of a new Judicial Section in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and appointment of stable personnel to undertake service in the Tribunal. The implementation of this decision would follow consultation with the Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
4. That the Holy Father appoint a Secretary to assist the Prefect with the Tribunal. The Secretary will have responsibility for the new Judicial Section and the personnel of the Section will also be available to the Prefect for penal processes regarding the abuse of minors and vulnerable adults by clergy. This appointment will also follow the consultation with the Prefect of the Congregation.
5. That the Holy Father establish a five-year period for further development of these proposals and for completing a formal evaluation of their effectiveness.
The Council of Cardinals agreed unanimously on these proposals and resolved that they be submitted to the Holy Father, Pope Francis. The Holy Father approved the proposals and authorized that sufficient resources will be provided for this purpose.