Violation of church law?

Violation of church law?

A rosary lies on the Codex Iuris Canonici © Harald Oppitz (KNA)

Inappropriate interpretation? According to canon lawyer Georg Bier, the procedure provided by the Catholic Church in Germany for the investigation of sexualized violence violates canon law in one respect.

The order for dealing with sexual abuse adopted by the Bishops' Conference in 2019 provides for a "preliminary investigation" and only in a second step and only in the case of confirmed initial suspicion a report to Rome, writes Bier in the "Herder Korrespondenz" (February).

"This is a blatant violation of universal church law," said Bier. Canon law provides for an immediate duty to report, writes Bier. This also applies to attempts to cover up acts of abuse.

"Justice Denied."

In the technical essay, Bier describes the norms that govern resignations or impeachments of bishops. At the same time, the Fribourg canon lawyer points out that Pope Francis described mercy as a central concern of his pontificate.

But when bishops "often only offer meager blanket excuses for their own failures in dealing with sexual crimes and lack any empathy with the victims," this is a "difficult sign to bear" from the point of view of those affected, Bier criticized. "To spare perpetrators of abuse or cover-ups the acceptance of responsibility, including sanctioning consequences, is not mercy, but justice denied."

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