Vatican Defends New Policies

After recently revising its policies on dealing with sexual abuse by priests, the Vatican defended its stance Saturday in response to criticism that the new rules didn’t go far enough. On Thursday, the Vatican revised its investigation and discipline process for sex abuse by doubling the statute of limitations to punish and prosecute priests, in addition to simplifying legal procedures. The changes were prompted by this year’s fresh wave of sex-abuse scandals that rocked Europe. Critics noted that the new guidelines don’t require the church to report abuse to civil authorities, and don’t establish punishment for bishops who helped cover up abuse. A Vatican spokesperson explained that the exclusion of reporting abuse to civil authorities was due to the need for “commonly shared and autonomous” rules across various countries.