Pope unveils rules to deal with abuse claims
Pledging that clerical sexual abuse should "never happen again", the Vatican yesterday unveiled a set of new rules designed to alter how the Church deals with abuse accusations - particularly those made against bishops and other higher-ups.
The guidelines, which have been signed by Pope Francis, call on dioceses to create public and "easily accessible" offices for receiving abuse claims.
The rules also lay out a way to proceed when prelates are accused of cover-up or carrying out abuse themselves.
They call for a senior bishop in the region to begin looking into the case, with the help of lay experts.
The rules mark perhaps the most concrete attempt to date by Pope Francis to contend with the Catholic Church's primary crisis.
The question of how to handle claims against bishops has long confounded the Church, because bishops are answerable only to the pope, and for decades they have been able to escape rigid oversight.
But some experts have said that the new Church rules will be far from a cure-all, as they will still keep the handling of cases in-house.
(© The Washington Post)