Pope Francis of the Catholic Church has created a new Vatican tribunal section that would adjudge cases of bishops who fail to protect children from sexually abusive priests.
He announced this on Wednesday, June 10, 2015 following years of urging from victims groups who have pleaded on the Vatican to establish clear procedures to make bishops more accountable for sexual, child abuses in their dioceses, even though they were not directly responsible for it.
Reuters news agency reported that the reforms involves the creation of a new crime of “abuse of episcopal office” in canon law.
A spokesman for the Vatican, Father Federico Lombardi stated that the bishops could also be judged if they had failed to take measures to prevent sexual abuse of minors.
Complaints against bishops would be initially looked into by one of three Vatican departments, depending on the jurisdiction the bishops fall, before being judged by the doctrinal department..
The Vatican further said the Pope had accented to proposals made to him bu a commission advising him on how to root out sexual abuse of children.
Part of the task recommended by the commission, whichi is made up of 17 clerics and ordinary people from around the world, is to help dioceses put in place “best practices” to prevent abuse and work with victims in a process of healing.
Eight of the commission’s members are women.