Dec 17, 2019

Pope bans "pontifical secrecy" in sex abuse investigations

The Pope

Photo: Massimo Valicchia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Pope Francis on Tuesday announced significant changes to the Roman Catholic Church's rules for handling cases of sexual abuse, including banning "pontifical secrecy," which often protected perpetrators, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: The change essentially rids the church of the privacy it was previously given in internal proceedings. Pontifical secrecy was intended to keep information on church governance within the institution.

  • Victims groups say removing the provision is a step toward providing more transparency, but specified that it ought to be broadly applied.
  • Documents backed by the Pope prohibit imposing silence on any victims or those who report abuse.
  • Getting rid of pontifical secrecy in sex abuse cases was an essential ask from some church officials, including Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta and German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, per Reuters.

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