Scicluna hails abolition of pontifical secret in clerical sex crimes

Malta Today

Jan. 7, 2020

By Matthew Vella

Malta’s archbishop Charles Scicluna has hailed the abolition of the pontifical secret in cases of sexual violence and clerical abuse of minors, as an important step in working for justice for victims.

Scicluna, whom Pope Francis appointed as the Holy See’s prosecutor on clerical sex abuse cases, said the abolition will mean certain jurisdictions cannot be excused from not collaborating with authorities on such cases.

The abolition of the pontifical secret applies on the reporting, trials and decisions on cases of violence and sexual acts committed under threat or abuse of authority, sexual abuse of minors or vulnerable persons, cases of child pornography, as well as the lack of reporting and the cover-up of the abusers on the part of bishops and superiors general of religious institutes.

“Certain jurisdiction would have easily quoted the pontifical secret because that was the state of the law, in order to say that they could not, and that they were not, authorised to share information with either state authorities or the victim,” Scicluna told Vatican News.

“Now that impediment, we might call it that way, has been lifted, and the pontifical secret is no more an excuse.

“However, the law goes further… information is of the essence if we really want to work for justice. And so, the freedom of information to statutory authorities and to victims is something that is being facilitated by this new law.”

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.