BATAS SIMBAHAN

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Who is responsible for dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors?

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The responsibility for dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors belongs, in the first place, to Bishops or Major Superiors. If an accusation seems true the Bishop or Major Superior, or a delegate, ought to carry out the preliminary investigation in accord with CIC can. 1717, CCEO can. 1468, and SST art. 16.

If the accusation is considered credible, it is required that the case be referred to the CDF. Once the case is studied the CDF will indicate the further steps to be taken. At the same time, the CDF will offer direction to assure that appropriate measures are taken which both guarantee a just process for the accused priest, respecting his fundamental right of defense, and care for the good of the Church, including the good of victims. In this regard, it should be noted that normally the imposition of a permanent penalty, such as dismissal from the clerical state, requires a penal judicial process. In accord with canon law (cf. CIC can. 1342) the Ordinary is not able to decree permanent penalties by extrajudicial decree. The matter must be referred to the CDF which will make the definitive judgement on the guilt of the cleric and his unsuitability for ministry, as well as the consequent imposition of a perpetual penalty (SST art. 21, §2).

Circular Letter, To Assist Episcopal Conferences In Developing Guidelines  For Dealing With Cases Of Sexual Abuses Of Minors Perpetrated By Clerics, Rome, from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 3 May 2011

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20110503_abuso-minori_en.html

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