Bishops who cover up cases of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults are in trouble, as Archbishop Franco Coppola, the apostolic nuncio to Mexico has begun investigating 12 of them.

The investigations, carried out on the basis of the norms established by Pope Francis in his motus proprios “Come una madre amorevole” and “Vos estis lux mundi” are in various phases. While some cases are still being studied in Mexico, others have already been referred to the Vatican.

Pope Francis issued “Come una madre amorevole” in 2016, establishing that negligence by bishops in dealing with cases of sexual abuse may justify their removal.

Three years later, in 2019, the Holy Father published “Vos estis lux mundi,” which establishes that when accusations implicate Catholic bishops, the metropolitan archbishop of the ecclesiastical province to which the accused belongs must oversee the investigation.

In Mexico, there are currently 19 ecclesiastical provinces, headed by 19 archdioceses, which comprise 73 dioceses and four territorial prelatures.

In an interview, Coppola, 64, explained that “as ‘Come una madre amorevole’ provides, and as we have seen from the sentences that have been announced in the case of some bishops in other countries, the ecclesial penalty ⎯ in the case where it is established that there was a cover-up and depending on the type of cover-up ⎯ can range from a reprimand to removal from office.”

“What I think is important to point out is that all the complaints received are being followed up,” he said.

The apostolic nuncio noted that “important steps have been taken” in the Church in Mexico in the fight to prevent and combat sexual abuse by the clergy, “but we must continue in this direction with even greater clarity and transparency, taking a position of zero tolerance.”

“We must also begin to take responsibility for the just compensation for the harm done to the victims,” he said.

“There is still a long way to go to be able to regain trust, especially of the victims, those around them and non-Catholics,” he acknowledged.

By Editor

Teacher, Reporter, and Blogger

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