April 20, 2021

The Pope eliminates the pontifical secret in cases of pedophilia – La Provincia

He Pope has removed the pontifical secret before "the denunciations, the processes and the sentences" concerning the crimes of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults, as stated in an ordinance that limits the confidentiality of causes related to pedophilia.

The Pontiff has taken this measure in the motu proprio 'Vos estis lux mundi', approved in May and published on Tuesday. The instance, which has been signed as usual by the Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, It is already in force and extends to all research conducted by the Vatican and for dioceses that have as their object all facts related to the cover-up or possession of child pornography.

Silence cannot be imposed on the complainant

With the new provision, the information must be requested through an international rogatory, while, in the documents linked to diocesan curias, the judicial authorities will have to go directly to the corresponding bishop. "No link of silence can be imposed with respect to the facts prosecuted either to the complainant or to the person who claims to have been harmed or to the witnesses," is described in the document promoted by the Pope.

In this regard, the instruction recalls that "ex officio secrecy does not preclude the fulfillment of the obligations established in each place by state legislation." In this sense, the text emphasizes that "any reporting obligations are included", as well as to give effect to the executive resolutions of the civil judicial authorities. "

The document, with "firm and stable" validity, it is divided into five points in which it is clarified that the handling of the data corresponding to these issues must be carried out "in a way that guarantees its security, integrity and confidentiality".

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