Assessing the New Motu Proprio

Reposted from https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/francis-follows-through

The first section of the document states that bishops, priests, and members of religious orders must report to church officials both abuse and the cover-up of abuse. This applies to the abuse not only of minors, but also of vulnerable adults, including those forced “to perform or submit to sexual acts” through threats or “abuse of authority”—a clear reference to seminarians preyed on by those with power over them. The motu propriotakes effect this month, and within a year, “public, stable, and easily accessible” systems for submitting reports of abuse must be instituted in dioceses where they do not currently exist.

The document also provides protections for those who report abuse. Any retaliation or discrimination against whistleblowers is prohibited. The document underscores that reporting abuse does not violate “office confidentiality,” and that those who submit a report have no obligation to “keep silent” about their claims.

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