Pope abolishes use of 'pontifical secret' in clergy sex abuse cases

Posted at 8:11 AM, Dec 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-17 08:11:29-05

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has abolished the “pontifical secret” used in clergy sexual abuse cases.

The Vatican's leading sex crimes investigator says the reform is an “epochal decision" and a leading survivor calls it “excellent news.”

Francis issued a new law after facing mounting criticism that the high degree of confidentiality covering abuse cases has been used to protect pedophiles, silence victims and keep law enforcement from investigating the crimes.

Francis decreed Tuesday that information in abuse cases must be protected to ensure its “security, integrity and confidentiality.” But he said the “pontifical secret” no longer applies.