Pope Francis makes sexual abuse investigation obligatory

Pope Francis on May 7 issued Motu Proprio Vos Estis Lux Mundi (You are the light of the world), aimed at bringing offenders to justice, no matter what rank they hold in the Church, including when committed by bishops or cardinals. The new law is covering sexual abuse of minors or vulnerable persons, sexual acts compelled through the abuse of authority, and any cover-up of such crimes. It’s clear now; no one is above the law, clerics and religious are at the service of the people of God. "The crimes of sexual abuse offend Our Lord, cause physical, psychological and spiritual damage to the victims and harm the community of the faithful. In order that these phenomena, in all their forms, never happen again, a continuous and profound conversion of hearts is needed, attested by concrete and effective actions that involve everyone in the Church, so that personal sanctity and moral commitment can contribute to promoting the full credibility of the Gospel message and the effectiveness of the Church’s mission”, declared Pope Francis.

These norms apply to all clerics and members of Institutes of Consecrated Life or Societies of Apostolic Life concerning the following:

a) Delicts against the sixth commandment are: Forcing someone, by violence or threat or through abuse of authority, to perform or submit to sexual acts; Performing sexual acts with a minor or a vulnerable person;

The production, exhibition, possession or distribution, including by electronic means, of child pornography, as well as by the recruitment of or inducement of a minor or a vulnerable person to participate in pornographic exhibitions;

b) Conduct consisting of actions or omissions intended to interfere with or avoid civil investigations or canonical investigations, whether administrative or penal, against a cleric or a religious.

The "minor" means any person under the age of eighteen (or as specified by the state law), and "vulnerable person" means: any person in a state of infirmity, physical or mental deficiency, or deprivation of personal liberty which, in fact, even occasionally, limits their ability to understand or to want or otherwise resist the offence. For full text please access:

http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/motu_proprio/ documents/papa-francesco-motu-proprio-20190507_vos-estis-lux-mundi.html

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