From the Catholic Herald:
Pope Francis decreed sweeping legislative reform on Thursday, designed to address the crisis of abuse and especially abuse cover-up by senior Church leaders. Vos estis lux mundi is the name of the Apostolic letter issued Motu proprio — on the pope’s own initiative — establishing procedures for reporting and investigating crimes of abuse and coverup, which shall go into effect on June 1 and remain in place on a trial basis for three years.
The core of the reform law is a series of provisions making Metropolitan Archbishops responsible for investigating and disciplining wayward, malfeasant or negligent bishops within their provinces. The new law requires clerics and religious to report abuse and cover-up to competent ecclesiastical authority, and to abide by secular authorities’ reporting laws where they exist. It does not require clerics or religious to report to civil authorities where there is no law in civil jurisdiction requiring them to do so. The legislation requires speedy reporting and prompt investigation, with competent curial dicasteries given 30 days to instruct Metropolitans and investigations having 90 days to be completed, unless otherwise specified or requested. The law also envisions significant interdicasterial communication and cooperation. It does not explicitly address the question of funding, staffing, or mechanics of cooperation within the Roman Curia — which is in any case slated for a major overhaul in the coming months.
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