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Photo: Massimo Valicchia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Pope Francis issued a sweeping new Vatican law Thursday that requires all priests and nuns worldwide to report sexual abuse and subsequent coverups to Catholic Church authorities, the AP reports.

Why it matters: This is the Church's latest attempt to salvage its reputation and to curb mounting criticisms of its institutional negligence toward sexual abuse victims.

The big picture: The system makes the Church's priests and nuns worldwide "mandated reporters" of sexual abuse and assault — similar to the system in place for university employees in the U.S. It also guarantees them whistleblower protections and outlines procedures when the accused is a religious superior, like a bishop or cardinal.

  • The new laws require dioceses worldwide to implement systems that allow confidential reporting. It also makes no distinction about past cases, meaning that systems could see a flood of retroactive reports of abuse from long ago.
  • The laws include no punishment for priests and nuns who choose not to report cases of abuse — and has no sanctions in place for diocese that choose not to implement reporting systems.
  • Victims who report sexual abuse must be offered mental and spiritual assistance, but the law includes no form of financial reparations.

Go deeper: Former Pope blames the sexual revolution, secularism for abuse in Catholic Church

Go deeper

Swastikas found outside Union Station in Washington, D.C.

People walk through Union Station on Jan. 16 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Drawings of swastikas appeared etched around the entrance to Union Station in Washington, D.C., on Friday morning.

Driving the news: "An investigation is underway with Amtrak Police and the Metropolitan Police Department after swastikas were reported on the exterior of Washington Union Station on Friday," Amtrak spokesperson Kimberly Woods said in a statement to Axios.

Updated 56 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker

Scoop: Ukraine gives U.S. senators 4 specific asks

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

The chairman of Ukraine's parliament has sent a letter to eight U.S. senators outlining four specific requests for security assistance and sanctions that Kyiv believes will help deter a Russian invasion, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The Ukrainian government is leaning on Congress — and a bipartisan group of senators negotiating compromise language on sanctions that could pass the Senate — in an effort to push the U.S. posture beyond the Biden administration's approach.

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