Vatican Rule Not Meant to Replace Proper Legal Process

Statement from Church in England and Wales on Child Abuse Cases

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LONDON, JAN. 9, 2002 ( New Vatican rules regarding clergy who abuse children should not be interpreted as getting around the law, the Catholic Church in England and Wales said.

In a statement, the Catholic Church in Britain said, “There has been some misunderstanding concerning a Vatican clarification regarding Catholic clergy who have abused children.”

It added: “This clarification in no way circumvents or replaces normal legal procedures. Child abuse is a crime. The Church´s policies state that any allegations of abuse must be referred to the proper statutory authorities (police/social services). This was made clear in the independent Nolan report, approved by the Catholic bishops of England and Wales last year.”

John Paul II has directed that cases involving pederasty and the clergy should, for purposes of the Church´s internal discipline, be exclusively judged by a tribunal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

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