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Vatican office defines ‘vulnerable adult’ for abuse cases

January 31, 2024

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CWN Editor's Note: The Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF), which is responsible for disciplinary action in cases of clerical abuse, has said that the term “vulnerable adult” refers to “persons who habitually have an imperfect use of reason.”

The jurisdiction of the DDF extends to charges of abuse in which the victim is a minor of a vulnerable adult. In a January 30 note, the dicastery explained how the term ‘vulnerable adult’ should be understood.

The DDF note acknowledged that some abuse cases involve adults whose ability “to understand or will or otherwise resist the offense” is compromised for other reasons. Those cases, the note said, should be referred to other Vatican offices for disciplinary action: if the alleged offender is a priest, to the Dicastery for Clergy; if a bishop, the Dicastery for Bishops, if a religious, the Dicastery for Religious Life.

The above note supplements, highlights, or corrects details in the original source (link above). About CWN news coverage.


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