pope-francis

Pope Francis Creates Panel to Process ‘Backlog’ of Appeals From Priests Accused of Sexual Abuse

by Michael Gryboski  |  published on November 13, 2014


The Vatican announced Tuesday that Pope Francis will set up a panel to help process the “backlog” of appeals from priests who’ve been accused of committing sexual abuse against minors. The new judicial body, or college, will be overseen by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

“Hearing the appeals is a very important job, especially those on abuse of minors, and the backlog of cases is at risk of absorbing all the time of the congregation,” Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi told The Tablet, a Catholic news weekly.

“[The accused] shall have his case examined by the whole body of members of the congregation, the ordinary session, which may also examine other specific cases upon papal request, and/or examine cases referred to it by the newly created college,” he added.

The new college will mostly focus on appeals from defrocked priests, according to Reuters, which reports that “Under the changes, the new commission would handle appeals while an existing office in the doctrinal department would continue to handle initial cases. The Vatican said earlier this year that between 2004 and 2013, it had defrocked about 850 priests who had been accused of sexual abuse of minors.”

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