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AP report: no progress on Vatican tribunal to hold bishops accountable in abuse cases

March 09, 2016

No action has been taken to implement plans for a Vatican tribunal that could discipline bishops for their failure to respond to sex-abuse complaints, according to a March 9 Associated Press report. 

Last June, Pope Francis announced the creation of the new body, which would be part of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). But the plan is "going nowhere fast," the AP reported. Vatican officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that no follow-up steps had been taken in the nine months since the June announcement.

When he unveiled plans for the tribunal, Pope Francis said that he would appoint a new secretary to the CDF to head up the new body, and "adequate resources" would be assigned for the purpose. But no appointment has been made and no new resources conveyed to the CDF. 

Cardinal Sean O'Malley, the chairman of the papal commission on sexual abuse-- which had pressed for the creation of the tribunal for bishops-- reminded the AP that the Pope has recently repeated his promise to appoint a new CDF secretary for that purpose. Cardinal O'Malley said: "We're confident that the Holy Father's announcement of his intention to name a secretary for the Discipline Section is a clear sign that the implementation of his earlier decisions will be expedited."

Although the Vatican had been under pressure for several years to hold bishops accountable for negligence in handling abuse complaints, the June 2015 announcement of the new tribunal caught many prelates by surprise. Informed Vatican sources report that officials at the CDF were not aware of the Pope's plan to make the new body a part of that dicastery. 

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  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Mar. 09, 2016 7:09 PM ET USA

    I was angry when Mark Ruffalo waved his Oscar for his performance in the movie Spotlight,saying that the fight will continue until the Vatican and the Pope right the wrongs done to the sexually abused. I thought that he had old information, things are better now, and that the Church was addressing those wrongs. Well,I was so wrong.