Dec 17, 2019

Pope bans "pontifical secrecy" in sex abuse investigations

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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Trump hits back at Mattis: "I gave him a new life"

President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"

Obama praises young protesters, urges mayors to pursue police reforms

Former President Barack Obama called on all mayors to review their use-of-force policies and commit to policing reform in a virtual town hall Wednesday hosted by the Obama Foundation's My Brothers Keepers Alliance.

Why it matters: Obama has addressed the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed on social media and in a Medium post, but this was his first time speaking about the past week's events on camera. His voice will add weight to the growing pressure on local, state and federal officials to pursue policing reforms.

James Mattis condemns Trump as a threat to the Constitution

Mattis on Fox in Septemnber 2019 in New York City. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis condemned President Trump for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in a statement to The Atlantic on Wednesday, saying he was "appalled" at the president's response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

Why it matters: Trump’s former defense secretary had refrained from publicly criticizing his former boss since resigning in 2018.