US bishops © Bob Roller (CBA)
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has implemented a new reporting system for allegations of abuse against bishops. The new system will add to the already functioning procedures for reporting allegations.
This is according to a statement released on Monday. The Catholic Bishops Abuse Reporting Service (CBAR) is based on a website and a toll-free telephone number that individuals can use to report allegations of sexual abuse by bishops.
The reports will reportedly be forwarded for investigation to those responsible in the diocese in question – for example, to the archbishop in charge or – in the case that the archbishop himself is affected – to the higher ecclesiastical authority in each case. At the same time, a non-church expert also receives the report.
Nuncio and Vatican to be informed
After an initial review, the reports are to be handed over to the Apostolic Nuncio in Washington, who will decide whether a formal investigation should take place. In which case the result will be forwarded to the Vatican. There, the results will be reviewed and the way forward decided.
The introduction of the system is an important step in implementing Francis' papal decree "Vos estis lux mundi ("You are the light of the world"), the statement said. The document, dated May 2019, deals with how to proceed in cases of suspicion and who is responsible for what when.