Pope Francis Has Abolished Church Secrecy on Abuses

This is a huge shift in Church policy.

Pope Francis is making huge strides in implementing crucial reforms in the Church. Many people, including bishops, criticize the Church for preaching truth while itself harboring many secrets, particularly sex abuse cases. But that is changing now. For the first time in its 2,000-year history, the Catholic Church is abolishing its secrecy rule on sex abuses, which can no longer be considered as a pontifical secret.

Pontifical secrets are information kept at the highest confidentiality in church law. Examples of information that are kept as pontifical secrets include details of proceedings in electing a pope, information regarding who and what are being investigated by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, and other matters concerning the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.

However, some priests, bishops, and cardinals around the world have invoked the pontifical secret as an excuse to refuse cooperation with authorities when they are being investigated for abuses.

"Pontifical secret is no longer an excuse," said Archbishop Charles Scicluna, the Vatican's top investigator for sexual abuse, as reported by CNN. “…the question of transparency is now being implemented at the highest level.” 

Many times in the past, in the ultimate gesture of humility, Pope Francis has begged for forgiveness from sex abuse victims on behalf of members of the clergy for who have committed the abuses. Such apologies are significant because he acknowledges that the abuses happened, that the priests or bishops who committed them were wrong, and that the Church is at fault.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor-at-Large
Mario Alvaro Limos is features editor-at-large at Esquire Philippines, and heads the Lifestyle and Esports content of SPIN.ph as its section editor. Email him at [email protected] and [email protected]
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