The Tablet

February 28, 2018

By Christopher Lamb

Pope Francis and his group of cardinal advisers are examining proposals over how to speed up the Church’s handling of priest sex abuse cases.

One option being considered by Francis’ cabinet – known as the C9 – is the creation of courts around the world to help deal with a huge backlog that has overwhelmed the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the body that deals with them.

The proposal for the new tribunals would see them work under the direct supervision of the Vatican and would help tackle the 1,800 cases still waiting to be processed.

C9 member Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the Archbishop of Boston and the president of the Pope’s child protection commission, has now been tasked to work on the proposal.

During a lunchtime briefing with reporters on Wednesday, Vatican spokesman Greg Burke explained the creation of courts was one of the proposals being considered and that the prime objective is reducing the time that cases take.

Since 2001, the Vatican’s doctrine congregation has had responsibility for canonically assessing all cases of priests accused of abuse, examining claims for their credibility and then recommending courses of action against a priest including laicisation or removal from public ministry.

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