The Catholic Church has finally gotten serious about handling sexual abuse

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

June 19, 2019

By Bethany Mandel

In May, Pope Francis issued a detailed ruling on how officials in the Roman Catholic Church must handle cases of clerical sexual abuse, the first official codification of the church’s global policy.

Though abuse survivors have criticized the pope’s ruling as not strong enough and for being approved only “ad experimentum for three years,” his statement is thorough about how abuse allegations should be handled and powerful given the backing of the head of the Catholic Church.

Yet the news-making statement reflects not a change in priorities, but a move toward further public accountability in the Church’s decades-long grappling with allegations of abuse.

There is no equivalent to a pope in the Jewish world, no centralized body that can make sweeping pronouncements about how sexual abuse and harassment should be handled. But there is much Jewish professionals and all religious professionals working on improving our communal response to sexual abuse can learn from how the pope’s recent decision transpired.

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