Catholic Church has decided to enforce the changes made in the criminal law section of the Vatican’s Code of Canon Law which were approved by Pope Francis. Kerala Catholic Bishops Council spokesperson Fr Jacob Palakkappilly said the law will be applicable to all denominations of the Catholic Church in Kerala.
The changes included in articles 1395 and 1398 aim to address the church’s shortcomings in handling allegations and incidents related to sexual abuse. It recognizes that not only children but adults also can be victimized by priests who abuse their authority. The revisions also cover laypeople holding church positions, Times of India reported.
The changes include provisions to expel priests found guilty of sexual crimes from the Church. They also remove much of the discretion that allowed bishops and religious superiors to ignore or cover up abuse.
Vatican’s Code of Canon Law is a legal system that covers Catholic Church members all over the world. It operates independently from civil laws.