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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.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

Beware a Thanksgiving mirage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Don't be surprised if COVID metrics plunge over the next few days, only to spike next week.

Why it matters: The COVID Tracking Project warns of a "double-weekend pattern" on Thanksgiving — where the usual weekend backlog of data is tacked on to a holiday.

Trump pardons Michael Flynn

President Trump with Michael Flynn in 2016. Photo: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images

President Trump on Wednesday pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty in the Mueller investigation to lying to FBI agents about his conversations with a former Russian ambassador.

Why it matters: It is the first of multiple pardons expected in the coming weeks, as Axios scooped Tuesday night.