Pope abolishes ‘pontifical secret’ in clergy sex abuse cases

Pope Francis abolished the “pontifical secret” used in clergy sexual abuse cases Tuesday, responding to mounting criticism that the high…

Pope Francis abolished the “pontifical secret” used in clergy sexual abuse cases Tuesday, responding to mounting criticism that the high degree of confidentiality has been used to protect pedophiles, silence victims and prevent police from investigating crimes.

“The carnival of obscurity is over,” declared Juan Carlos Cruz, a prominent Chilean survivor of clergy abuse and advocate for victims.

In a new law, Francis decreed that information in abuse cases must be protected by church leaders to ensure its “security, integrity and confidentiality.” But he said “pontifical secret,” the highest form of confidentiality in the church, no longer applies to abuse-related accusations, trials and decisions under the Catholic Church’s canon law.

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