Pope Francis has approved the creation of an internal Church tribunal empowered to punish bishops who covered up sex abuse by priests, the Vatican said Wednesday.
Under the reform, bishops suspected of protecting pedophile clerics or of failing to respond promptly to allegations of abuse will face being charged with “abuse of episcopal office” under canon law, the Church’s internal set of rules.
The move follows a recommendation from the Vatican’s child protection commission, a body which includes victims of pedophile priests among its lay members and was set up last year with a brief to root out sex abuse in the Catholic Church.
The panel’s recommendation was also recently endorsed by the C9 group of cardinals who advise Francis.
But it was attacked as not going far enough by members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).
The campaign group’s president, Barbara Blaine, said the Church’s record of protecting abusers meant it could not be relied upon to hold bishops to account.
“As long as clerics are in charge of dealing with other clerics who commit and conceal child sex crimes, little will change,” she said. Read More: http://en.africatime.com/zambie/db/pope-creates-tribunal-judge-bishops-who-cover-sex-abuse