Pope facilitates Vatican prosecutions for cardinals, bishops

Pope facilitates Vatican prosecutions for cardinals, bishops


ROME — Pope Francis has sent another message to Vatican-based cardinals and bishops about his intent to hold them accountable for criminal misconduct: He removed the procedural obstacles that had spared them from being prosecuted by the Vatican’s criminal tribunal.

A new law published Friday makes clear that Vatican city-state prosecutors have jurisdiction over Holy See cardinals and bishops and need only the pope’s consent to proceed with investigations against them.

The law abrogated a regulation, upheld as recently as last year, that said only the tribunal’s highest appeals court, which is composed of three cardinal judges, could assess the actions of cardinals and bishops accused of criminal offenses.

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The reform is the latest sign that after eight years of preaching about ending corruption and other criminal activity in the Holy See, Francis is taking concrete steps to make it easier to hold his own cardinals and bishops accountable while emboldening Vatican prosecutors to go after them.

Pope Francis

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