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New Vatican panel to hear appeals of clerics disciplined for abuse

May 19, 2014

Pope Francis is setting up a new commission to hear the appeals of clerics who have been found guilty of serious crimes, including the sexual abuse of minors, the Catholic News Service (CNS) reports.

The new commission will operate under the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which handles sex-abuse complaints lodged against priests. Earlier this month, in testimony before a UN commission, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi reported that more than 3,400 priests have been disciplined by the Vatican because of sex-abuse charges.

In a brief announcement issued on May 19, the Vatican reported that Archbishop Jose Luis Mollaghan of Rosaria, Argentina, had been named a member of the CDF, "with responsibility for the Commission for the examination of appeals by clergy accused of delicta graviora, to be established." The Vatican had not previously mentioned the creation of such a panel. The appointment of a prelate with the rank of archbishop-- who will leave his current post in Argentina to assume his new responsibilities in Rome-- suggests that Pope Francis views the new commission as an important assignment.


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  • Posted by: Defender - May. 20, 2014 10:42 AM ET USA

    I understand the difference between civil and Church law, but won't priests "who have been found guilty of serious crimes" create additional problems for the Church? Isn't this new commission likely to create more problems? Wonder if this commission will deal with the homosexuals in the priesthood that the bishops never talk about and never do anything about that are responsible for this mess?

  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - May. 20, 2014 12:04 AM ET USA

    I think it is significant that the head of the commission is NOT from the US church which claims to have the most expertise in this matter. It may be a sign that the Pope doesn't go along with the US approach of sacrificing some innocent priests along with the guilty to save the bishops and cardinals from prosecution.