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Vatican manual on sexual abuse cases urges report to authorities-World News, Firstpost


By Philip Pullella (Reuters) – Vatican advises bishops to report cases of sexual abuse of minors by priests to civil authorities even if they are not required by local law, toughening its official guidelines on an issue that has rocked the Catholic Church in recent years. The advice is contained in a new 20-page “vademecum”, or guide, published Thursday by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It contains some of the clearest language on reporting sexual abuse ever published in a Vatican document.

By Philippe Pullella

(Reuters) – Vatican advises bishops to report cases of sexual abuse of minors by priests to civil authorities even if they are not required by local law, toughening its official guidelines on an issue that has rocked the Church Catholic in recent years.

The advice is contained in a new 20-page “vademecum”, or guide, published Thursday by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It contains some of the clearest language on reporting sexual abuse ever published in a Vatican document.

Earlier Vatican documents required clerics to report any cases of abuse to Church superiors, but said they should follow local law about whether they are required to report suspected sexual abuse to civil authorities .

“Even in cases where there is no explicit legal obligation to do so, church authorities should report to the competent civil authorities if this is deemed necessary to protect the person involved or other minors from harm. other criminal acts, ”the manual says.

While the provision does not have the full force of Church law and gives bishops some discretion, the wording appears to be an important step in response to demands from victims groups.

Archbishop Giacomo Morandi, number two in the Vatican Doctrinal Office, highlighted the novelty of the reporting issue in an interview with the official Vatican News website.

The manual, a step-by-step guide and primarily a compilation of existing laws, was designed following a request by bishops at a Vatican summit on abuse in February last year.

It is intended to help local churches navigate what Vatican doctrinal leader Cardinal Luis Francisco Ladaria has called “a dense forest of standards and procedures.”

The directives will be sent to all dioceses, even to those who already had them.

Over the past two decades, Roman Catholic churches around the world have been affected by a multitude of cases of sexual abuse and have spent billions of dollars in settlements, expenses which in many cases have led to the closure of parishes. and schools.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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