Pope Francis has established a special body within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to speed up the process of hearing and ruling on appeals filed by priests laicized or otherwise disciplined in sexual abuse or other serious cases. Federico Lombardi, S.J., the Vatican spokesperson, told reporters on Nov. 11 that the members of the doctrinal congregation had been examining an average of four or five appeals, mostly in sexual abuse cases, at each of their monthly meetings. “Because of the number of appeals and the need to guarantee a more rapid examination of them,” Pope Francis has instituted a “college” within the congregation to judge cases involving priests. A case involving a bishop accused of abuse or other serious crimes would continue to be examined and judged by the entire membership of the doctrinal congregation during one of its regular monthly meetings.
Vatican to Speed Up Abuse Appeals