New Vatican rules on abuse encourage whistle-blowers—like Archbishop Vigano

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Apr 05, 2019

Credit Father Raymond de Souza with spotting an important point about the new Vatican legislation on sexual abuse. The rules require all Vatican personnel to report any evidence of sexual abuse to prosecutors. The legislation applies directly only within the territory of the Vatican city-state, but it has important implications.

First, it applies to Vatican diplomats serving in nunciatures, who might hear disquieting stories about clerics in the countries they serve; they are now required by law to report those stories to Vatican prosecutors.

Second, the law places low-ranking officials under a legal obligation to report, even if their superiors order them to be silent.

Third, this legislation is obviously intended as a model for other jurisdictions: an example of how the Vatican would like to see the problem handled in every country.

Fourth, as Father de Souza points out, the thrust of the legislation vindicates Archbishop Vigano, who was roundly criticized for failing to keep “diplomatic” secrets.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: Retired01 - Apr. 06, 2019 2:45 PM ET USA

    the trust of the legislation may vindicate Archbishop Vigano, but it appears that there are some in the Vatican to which the legislation does not apply.

  • Posted by: feedback - Apr. 06, 2019 12:52 AM ET USA

    Great point! However, the "new rules" seem to be just a smoke screen to provide impression on being tough on abuse while not doing anything different, and the vindication of Archbishop Vigano appears to be an unintended (and most likely unwanted) side effect. And, to the sincere Catholics, who love the Church, Archbishop Vigano is a hero who does not need "to be vindicated" for disclosing the corruption; his priorities are Christ-like.

  • Posted by: [email protected] - Apr. 05, 2019 11:39 PM ET USA

    Don't let the new rules fool you. Archbishop Vigano is still being actively attacked by the Vatican mafia and leftist leaders in the hierarchy to avoid the truth about the Pope and Mccarrick and those who supported Mccarrick. It is important to know who Mccarrick supported. You have hierarchy as Wuerl,Tobin,Cupich of Chicago,whose conduct over the years have been detrimental to the Church.