Vatican Clamps Down on Paedophile Inquiries; RELIGION: Wales Cases Prompt Rethink in Rome on Handling of Sexual Abuse Scandals
THE Vatican has ordered that paedophilia accusations against priests should be immediately referred to Rome.
The rules, from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, come at a time when confidence in the Church's handling of abuse scandals is at an all-time low.
The handling of two paedophilia caes contributed largely to the recent resignation of John Aloysius Ward as Archbishop of Cardiff at the Vatican's request.
He had been accused of failing to listen to warnings from a fellow bishop when accepting Joe Jordan to his diocese in 1995 and ordaining him a priest. Jordan was later jailed. Two years earlier, Archbishop Ward had been accused of ignoring warnings about Father John Lloyd, his press spokesman and adviser, who was found guilty of assault charges in 1998.
The new rules are written in Latin and have been published without any publicity in the Holy See's official Gazette.
They are apparently aimed at centralising control in Rome of paedophilia cases.
The Vatican urges local Church officials to act swiftly where there is "at least probable knowledge of a grave crime". The officials should refer the case to the congregation, which then will transmit "appropriate norms" for handling, including a Church tribunal at the local level. …