US bishops mark charter’s 20th year, pledge continued outreach to survivors
November 22, 2022
CWN Editor's Note: The US bishops approved their Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People at their Dallas meeting in 2002.
The charter states that “when even a single act of sexual abuse by a priest or deacon is admitted or is established after an appropriate process in accord with canon law, the offending priest or deacon will be removed permanently from ecclesiastical ministry, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state, if the case so warrants.”
In mandating permanent removal from ministry, the US bishops established a more stringent minimum penalty for clerical sexual abuse of minors than that of the universal Church. Even after Pope Francis’s revisions to the Code of Canon Law, the mandatory minimum penalty for sexually abusing a minor is deprivation of office (Canon 1398), with the maximum penalty being dismissal from the clerical state.
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