By Thomas P Doyle June 17, 2016 National Catholic Reporter on-line
When it comes to holding bishops and religious superiors responsible for the cover up of clergy sex abuse, Pope Francis’June 4 apostolic letter on ecclesial accountability is not only a distinct improvement over the proposal made a year ago to establish a tribunal to hold bishops accountable, it is possibly the most positive and hopeful signal to come out of the Vatican to date.
Canon lawyer Kurt Martens — among others — told NCR, “Everyone seems to be excited about the new [aposotlic letter] but there is really no change.” However, there is something breaking with this pronouncement — the official recognition by the church’s highest authority of hierarchical negligence in dealing with sex abuse by clerics. It is not only acknowledged but named as a crime.
The apostolic letter, or motu proprio known by its Italian title, Come una madre amorevole (“As a loving mother”), has some remarkable positive points that deserve mention:
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