Pope Francis lifts “pontifical secret” in sex abuse investigations

Pope Francis lifts “pontifical secret” in sex abuse investigations
Photo: YouTube | NBC News

Pope Francis has moved to abolish the shroud of secrecy that critics argue is being used to protect pedophiles in the Catholic clergy. The pope’s decision came on Tuesday as a response to escalating criticism that the confidentiality of such a degree is being abused to silence victims and avert investigations from authorities.

Juan Carlos Cruz, a well-known survivor of clergy abuse from Chile declare “The carnival of obscurity is over,” following the decision. Cruz is also acting as an advocate for victims of sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church.

Francis decreed in a new law that information in abuse cases must be protected by ordained leaders to maintain its “security, integrity and confidentiality.” However, he said that the “pontifical secret” is no longer applicable to sexual abuse-related allegations, investigations, and trials under the church’s canon law.

According to Archbishop Charles Scicluna, internal investigations will still remain confidential under the new reform. But the new law will no longer excuse anyone in the church from refusing to cooperate with legitimate legal requests from police, authorities, and prosecutors.

The reform was issued on Tuesday, the same day as the pope’s 83rd birthday. Pressure has mounted upon Francis as he struggles to make decisions with the widespread exposition of abuse scandals in the church. Victims, law enforcement agencies and members of the Catholic church are continuing to call for transparency and accountability.

The Roman Catholic Church is plagued by controversies of child sexual abuse committed by priests. Something that is widely believed to be systematic in nature.