Pope Francis has approved the creation of a tribunal to hear cases of bishops accused of covering up child abuse by paedophile priests.
The tribunal will have the power to punish bishops who failed to protect young victims.
Last year, the UN strongly criticised the Church for failing to stamp out abuse and for allowing cover-ups.
The Palace of the Holy Office, which stands on the edge of the Vatican, will host the Tribunal. The palace will have to rearrange its furniture to make room for the secretary and staff of its new “Judicial Section”.
This section will work as a formal tribunal. It will investigate Catholic bishops who may have covered for priests suspected of child sex abuse, and will have the power to punish bishops found to have acted improperly.
The Pope’s decision followed a recommendation from the Pope’s newly created panel on clerical sex abuse. The panel was set up by Pope Francis in 2013 to help dioceses improve abuse prevention measures and support victims. It is made up of 17 clerics and lay people from around the world.
Representatives of First Nations peoples took part in a march in Ottawa last Saturday
Canadian governments and churches pursued a policy of “cultural genocide” against the country’s aboriginal people throughout the 20th century, according to an investigation by the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission into a long-suppressed history that saw 150,000 Native, or First Nations, children forcibly removed from their families and incarcerated in residential schools rife with abuse.
From the 19th century until the 1970s, more than 150,000 aboriginal children were forced to attend Christian schools to rid them of their native cultures and integrate them into Canadian society.
Children inducted into residential schools were forbidden from speaking their native languages, subjected to routine physical abuse, inadequate nutrition and neglect. Sexual abuse was common, according to the survivors who testified at commission hearings throughout the country.
More than 3,000 children died and were often buried in unmarked graves without any identification or notice to their parents. Continue reading