DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Pope Francis laid out new Vatican laws on Thursday about how Catholic clergy around the world should report allegations of sexual abuse and cover-ups within the church.
The document released by the Pope comes after a February summit where heads of bishops around the world met to discuss the major issue of sexual abuse within the Catholic church.
Some of the new rules include: Diocese must establish accessible systems for the public to report abuse and cover-ups confidentially, there will be no retaliation against whistleblowers, archbishops or clerics must report accusations to the Vatican immediately, which will be responded to within 30 days. For more, click here.
“We are grateful that our Holy Father Pope Francis continues to take steps to ensure that all are safe in the Catholic Church,” Bishop Edward Burns of the Diocese of Dallas said in a statement. “… I look forward to implementing the Holy Father’s additional, helpful procedures in order to protect the most vulnerable.”
Burns said the diocese has some of the standards already in place in regards to reporting such accusations. He said anyone who brings up allegations of sexual abuse are told to report to local law enforcement first, and that the diocese also contacts police after receiving the report.
“I thank Pope Francis for today establishing a clearer set of universal procedures for reporting suspected abuse and protecting victims and whistle blowers and holding Bishops and other Church leaders accountable. These new norms will hopefully make a significant impact on the world-wide Church,” Burns said.