Despite being a silly headline, this is good news coming from the Roman Catholic church’s sex abuse cases in Ireland. Because of the rampant abuse in Ireland and the church’s utter failure to address the issue, they are coming up with standard rules for how diocese’ should handle sex abuse cases.
Under [previous] rules, a bishop or the head of a religious order effectively has the power of deciding whether a cleric should be forced to take priestly leave, when accused of a sex offence. In practice, this has meant that different bishops and heads of orders have applied widely different standards and interpretations when dealing with abuse accusations.
In some cases, bishops have forced priests to stand aside after relatively questionable accusations while, in other cases, bishops have allowed priests to remain in full ministry for long periods after a number of complaints had been made against them.
The bishops are understood to have accepted a set of new proposals made by Ian Elliott, the chief executive of the Church’s National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC).
This is a step up from the Roman Catholic hierarchy’s usual move of sweeping sexual offenses of their clergy under the rug. A whole lot better than getting priests shuffled around with no punishment brought upon them, leaving them free to sexually prey on more people.
Hopefully these reforms will continue internationally so that less lives are destroyed by sexual abuse.