Skip to content

We ask you, humbly: don't scroll away.

Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you.

Help Now >

Vatican toughens laws against sex abuse and corruption

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes
New law requires bishops to take punitive action.

The Vatican has published an update to the Church's penal code to punish sex abuse and corruption more harshly. 

Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/1/2021 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Vatican, abuse, law, justice

LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - A new penal code published by the Vatican broadens the list of people who can be punished for sexual abuse of others. The law now covers laypeople and those in religious orders who are not also priests. However, it still does not automatically defrock abusive priests, as most people want. 

The law also places emphasis on the bishop's obligation in each diocese to take punitive action, especially when local enforcement of the law does not appear sufficient to do justice or bring about reform. Note, the penal code update does not simply apply to sex abuse, but all manner of criminal behaviors, including corruption. 

Pope Francis delivered remarks in a decree, explaining that charity and discipline are related, and it is insufficient to offer "only exhortations or suggestions." 

With respect to the sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable persons, the law now classifies those offenses as "crimes against the life, dignity and freedom of man." It is this designation that makes it possible for the Church to prosecute laypersons and those who are not priests, but are members of religious orders. 

Some critics of the change argue that the law still makes reference to the Sixth Commandment and therefore minimizes the severity of the crime. The Sixth Commandment prohibits adultery, and child sexual abuse is more serious than adultery. However, the Ten Commandments do cover such offenses. This is because each Commandment, while laconically stated, covers a remarkably wide range of offenses. To delete the reference could also cause confusion. 

Sex abuse scandals are likely the greatest evil to befall the Church in a very long time. Certainly such abuse is ubiquitous across time and in every organization, not just the Church. However, the members of the Church, especially the clergy are expected to strive to meet a standard of impeccability. And failing that, they are at least expected to refrain from abuse. Add corruption and cover-ups to the problem, and the Church begins to lose moral credibility in the hearts of parishoners, a dangerous condition. 

The Church must take the absolute, strongest position possible on these issues to restore its reputation. That means making reparations to victims as well as taking tangible, effective steps to ensure justice and protect people. 

Any weakness in addressing this issue, any slowness is deadly. While the latest reforms are welcome, as an institution among men, the Church must ask if more can be done, and it needs to do it. 

Crowd at BBQ with Montana Ranch and Cattle meat As a big thank you for your service to our Church, Montana Ranch and Cattle offers you a special discount. Enjoy 25% off ‘The Greatest Meat on Earth’.

By the Grace of God, with the help of Montana Ranch and Cattle, Catholic Online School has become one of the fastest-growing, online K-Adult schools in the world. The school now has over 915,000 student enrollments from 193 countries. Click to Save 25% Now >
Crowd at BBQ with Montana Ranch and Cattle meat As a big thank you for your service to our Church, Montana Ranch and Cattle offers you a special discount. Enjoy 25% off ‘The Greatest Meat on Earth’.

By the Grace of God, with the help of Montana Ranch and Cattle, Catholic Online School has become one of the fastest-growing, online K-Adult schools in the world. The school now has over 915,000 student enrollments from 193 countries. Click to Save 25% Now >

Join the Movement
When you sign up below, you don't just join an email list - you're joining an entire movement for Free world class Catholic education.

To all our readers,

Please don't scroll past this. We interrupt your reading to humbly ask you to defend Catholic Online School's independence. 98% of our readers don't give; they look the other way. If you are an exceptional reader who has already donated, we sincerely thank you. If you donate just $10.00, or whatever you can, Catholic Online School could keep thriving for years. Most people donate because Catholic Online School is useful. If Catholic Online School has given you $10.00 worth of knowledge this year, take a minute to donate. Show the world that access to Catholic education matters to you. Thank you.

Help Now >

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2021 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2021 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter!