Revised canon law on crimes, penalties almost ready for publication

Canon Law Crimes Penalties

Title: Revised canon law on crimes, penalties almost ready for publication

Author: Cindy Wooden
Publisher: Crux Now
Date: 18MAY2021

VATICAN CITY — The revised section of the Code of Canon Law dealing with crimes and penalties, including those related to clerical sexual abuse, should be ready for publication before the end of summer, said the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta, who spearheaded the project, confirmed the imminent publication in late May after the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales released correspondence about changing the current code “to clearly distinguish” between a priest violating his promise of chastity and sexually abusing a minor.

Pope Francis already said in February 2020 that the work on a revised Book VI of the Code of Canon Law, “Sanctions in the Church,” was complete.

The revision, the pope had said, was needed “to make it more organic and responsive to new situations and problems” that the church has become more aware of since the code was published in 1983. Work on the revision began in 2008.

As the church’s chief legislator, it is Pope Francis who will decide whether or not to promulgate the revised book and order that it replace the current law.

Following up on recommendations made by the British Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, president of the bishops’ conference, wrote to Archbishop Filippo Iannone, president of the pontifical council, asking for a separate canon in the code dealing with abuse of minors and, more specifically, not describing it as an offense “contra sextum” — against the Sixth Commandment, “You shall not commit adultery.”

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