Pope Francis recently announced an amendment to the 2019 Church law on clerical sexual abuse and increased its scope to include Catholic lay leaders of Vatican-approved religious organisations.
Lay leaders are people other than clergy members who are on the professional rosters of the church.
The Vatican first set out its position on clerical sexual abuse in the Apostolic letter, Vos estis lux mundi in 2019, which was due to remain in force for an initial four-year period.
In announcing the recent amendment to include Catholic lay leaders, the Vatican have also announced that this document will be made permanent from 30 April 2023.
In addition to widening the scope to include Catholic lay leaders of Vatican-approved religious organisations, Pope Francis has also made some minor amendments to Vos estis lux mundi to include the following: -
- Lay leaders of Vatican-approved associations will now be held accountable for cover-ups of sexual abuse. This previously only applied to bishops and religious superiors.
- The updated document now applies to “a minor, or with a person who habitually has an imperfect use of reason, or with a vulnerable adult.”