New tribunal will deal with misconducts in French Roman Catholic Church

CNE (Christian Network Europe) [The Netherlands]

December 8, 2022

Thirteen people form a new tribunal that will deal with misconduct in the Roman Catholic Church of France. The National Canon Criminal Court (TPCN) was sworn in on Monday.

The new tribunal will deal with cases in the Church connected to sexual abuse of adults, power abuse, breach of trust and issues of spiritual influence. The Dicastery of the Doctrine of Faith will remain responsible for dealing with cases of sexual abuse of children. That is reported by RCF.


Any Catholic who feels he has suffered wrongdoings in the Church may go to the tribunal. After investigations, the TCPN may decide to sentence the perpetrator to penalties, such as a fine, prohibition of ministry, dismissal from the clerical state or excommunication. The tribunal can also determine that the perpetrator has to pay his or the victim damages, Famille Chretienne writes.

Yet, the TPCN is not to replace the secular justice system, Father de Boccard says to RCF. If a bishop is seized for a severe crime, the tribunal must transfer the case’s prosecution to the national criminal court.


The TCPN consists of a chairman, a judicial vicar, assisted by two deputy judicial vicars. Only clerics can hold this function. In addition, there are nine to twelve judges, a Promoter of Justice who serves as the prosecutor, a chancellor and notaries. Five of the thirteen people installed on Monday are lay people.

Setting up a new tribunal was a recommendation of the so-called Sauvé report on sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in France. Up till now, victims of abuse had to report to diocesan or interdiocesan authorities. The new tribunal will centralise this system for victims.

According to RCF, the French Roman Catholic Church is the only one worldwide to have such a tribunal.