Pope Francis is preparing to roll back some of the reforms calling for tough treatment of priests accused of sexual abuse, reports Michael Brendan Dougherty of The Week.
Dougherty reports that the Pope has discussed the possibility of
taking the responsibility for sex-abuse prosecution away from the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), and having the cases
handled by another Vatican office - presumably because the CDF is seen as
relentless in its attitude toward abusive priests.
The Pope reportedly
discussed this possibility in December with the Council of Cardinals,
although that conversation was not mentioned in public reports on the
Pope Francis has made numerous tough statements against clerical
abuse, most recently in his message to the world’s bishops on December
28, the feast of the Holy Innocents.
Yet he has also advocated for
compassionate treatment of fallen priests, and defended prelates who
have been charged with negligence in handling abuse complaints.
noteworthy case, the Pope reversed a CDF decision laicizing a notorious
Italian priest — who was later convicted of multiple charges in a civil
Dougherty writes that there are growing suspicions in Rome that the
Pope’s allies receive special treatment, and predicts that a new scandal
could erupt if the Pope pursues his policies.