cloudyn.png
Wednesday August 4th, 2021 12:07AM

New Vatican law criminalizes abuse of adults, even by laity

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has changed church law to explicitly criminalize the sexual abuse of adults by priests who abuse their authority and to say that laypeople who hold church office can be sanctioned for similar sex crimes.

The new provisions, released Tuesday after 14 years of study, were contained in the revised criminal law section of the Vatican’s Code of Canon Law, the in-house legal system that covers the 1.3-billion strong Catholic Church.

The most significant changes are contained in two articles, 1395 and 1398, which aim to address major shortcomings in the church’s handling of sexual abuse. The law recognizes that adults, too, can be victimized by priests who abuse their authority, and said that laypeople in church offices can be punished for abusing minors as well as adults.

The Vatican also criminalized the “grooming” of minors or vulnerable adults by priests to compel them to engage in pornography. It’s the first time church law has officially recognized as criminal the method used by sexual predators to build relationships with their victims to then sexually exploit them.

The law also removes much of the discretion that had long allowed bishops and religious superiors to ignore or cover-up abuse, making clear they can be held responsible for omissions and negligence in failing to properly investigate and sanction errant priests.

Ever since the 1983 code was issued, lawyers and bishops have complained it was completely inadequate to deal with the sexual abuse of minors, since it required time-consuming trials. Victims and their advocates, meanwhile, have argued it left too much discretion in the hands of bishops who had an interest in covering up for their priests.

The Vatican issued piecemeal changes over the years to address the problems and loopholes, most significantly requiring all cases to be sent to the Holy See for review and allowing for a more streamlined administrative process to defrock a priest if the evidence against him was overwhelming.

More recently, Francis passed new laws to punish bishops and religious superiors who failed to protect their flocks. The new criminal code incorporates those changes and goes beyond them.

According the new law, priests who engage in sexual acts with anyone — not just a minor or someone who lacks the use of reason — can be defrocked if they used “force, threats or abuse of his authority” to engage in sexual acts.

The law doesn’t explicitly define which adults are covered, saying only “one to whom the law recognizes equal protection.”

In a novelty aimed at addressing sex crimes committed by laypeople who hold church offices, such as founders of lay religious movements or even church administrators, the new law says laypeople can be similarly punished if they abuse their authority to engage in sexual crimes.

Since these laypeople can’t be defrocked, penalties include losing their jobs, paying fines or being removed from their communities.

The need for such a provision was made clear in the scandal involving the lay founder of the Peru-based conservative group Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, a conservative movement that has 20,000 members and chapters throughout South America and the U.S.

An independent investigation concluded he was a paranoid narcissist obsessed with sex and watching his underlings endure pain and humiliation. But the Vatican dithered for years on how to sanction him, ultimately deciding to remove him from Peru and isolate him from the community.

The new law goes into effect on Dec. 8.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP World News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Heathrow opens terminal for high-risk travelers
London's Heathrow Airport has reopened a terminal that was mothballed during the coronavirus pandemic to handle passengers now arriving from high-risk countries
5:44AM ( 10 minutes ago )
Biden to honor forgotten victims of Tulsa race massacre
President Joe Biden is set to mark the 100th anniversary of a massacre that wiped out a thriving Black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma
5:38AM ( 16 minutes ago )
New Vatican law criminalizes abuse of adults, even by laity
Pope Francis has changed church law to explicitly criminalize the sexual abuse of adults by priests who abuse their authority
5:38AM ( 16 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Australian court upholds ban on most international travel
An Australian court has rejected a challenge to the federal government’s draconian power to prevent most citizens from leaving the country so they don’t bring COVID-19 home
3:26AM ( 2 hours ago )
Scrutiny mounts of legacy of pioneering Northwest missionary
Marcus Whitman has been an iconic figure from early Pacific Northwest history for generations
12:27AM ( 5 hours ago )
'Past the point of no return'? Iowa Dems feel hopes fading
There are signs of Democratic fatigue in Iowa, a state viewed for decades as a true political battleground
12:03AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Albania parliament to vote on president’s impeachment June 9
Albania's parliament has decided to hold an extraordinary session next week on the impeachment of the country’s president for allegedly violating the constitution
10:42AM ( 19 hours ago )
Dems walk, stop Texas GOP's sweeping voting restrictions
A restrictive voting bill in Texas that was on the verge of reaching Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk failed to pass Sunday night after Democrats walked out of the House chamber before a midnight deadline
8:05AM ( 21 hours ago )
Texas GOP's strict voting bill on the verge of final vote
The Texas Legislature is on the verge of signing off on some of the most restrictive voting measures in the U.S. A vote was expected Sunday in the GOP-controlled Texas House that would send Republican Gov. Greg Abbott a raft of election changes that would eliminate drive-thru voting and empower partisan poll watchers
5:35PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Congress News
Israeli official rolls back army chief comments on AP Gaza
Israel’s defense minister has distanced himself from comments made by his military chief after Israel bombed a Gaza Strip high-rise housing an Associated Press office and other news outlets
2:57AM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: COVID-19 variants to be labeled as Greek letters
The World Health Organization is announcing a new nomenclature for the COVID-19 variants that were previously — and somewhat uncomfortably — known either by their technical letter-number codes or by the countries in which they first appeared
5:16PM ( 12 hours ago )
Mexico raids building project next to Teotihuacán pyramids
Mexico has sent in 250 National Guard troops and 60 police officers to seize a plot of land next to the pre-Hispanic ruins of Teotihuacan where authorities say bulldozers were destroying outlying parts of the archeological site
4:48PM ( 13 hours ago )
AP World News
The Latest: Heathrow opens terminal for high-risk travelers
London's Heathrow Airport has reopened a terminal that was mothballed during the coronavirus pandemic to handle passengers now arriving from high-risk countries
5:44AM ( 10 minutes ago )
Biden to honor forgotten victims of Tulsa race massacre
President Joe Biden is set to mark the 100th anniversary of a massacre that wiped out a thriving Black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma
5:38AM ( 16 minutes ago )
Global stocks mixed ahead of monthly U.S. jobs report
Global stock markets are mixed as investors look ahead to this week's U.S. jobs data for reassurance the biggest global economy is improving following the previous month’s big miss on hiring
5:02AM ( 53 minutes ago )
The Latest: 2019 champ Ashleigh Barty back to Roland Garros
Top-ranked Ashleigh Barty returns to Court Philippe Chatrier to play her first match since she won the title at Roland Garros two years ago
4:59AM ( 55 minutes ago )
NATO ministers meet to prepare summit, Afghan withdrawal
NATO's foreign and defense ministers will be meeting to lay the groundwork for the military alliance's first summit with U.S. President Joe Biden
4:40AM ( 1 hour ago )