Vatican Canon Law criminalizes sexual abuse

Since laymen cannot be expelled from the priesthood, penalties such as losing their jobs, fines, or being removed from their communities are contemplated.

The need for that clause was made clear in the scandal surrounding Luis Figari, the lay founder of the Peru-based conservative group Sodalitium Christianae Vitae., which has 20,000 members and delegations throughout South America and the United States.

An independent investigation concluded that the founder was a paranoid narcissist obsessed with sex and seeing how his followers endured pain and humiliation.. But the Vatican hesitated for years on how to sanction him, until deciding that he should be removed from his community and transferred out of Peru.

The new law goes into effect on December 8.

* Child abuse is crimes against human dignity

Pope Francis amended Book VI of the Code of Canon Law on criminal sanctions in the (Catholic) Church and establishes that abuse of minors is crimes against the dignity of personsthe Vatican reported today.

This is one of the seven books that make up the Code of Canon Law and its modification will take effect as of December 8.

In order to respond adequately to the demands of the (Catholic) Church throughout the world, it was evident the need to also review the penal discipline promulgated by Saint John Paul II, on January 25, 1983, with the Code of Canon Law.“explained the pontiff.

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