Pope updates norms for serious crimes

The entrance to the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican (Vatican News)

Pope Francis has updated the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s procedural norms for the most serious crimes, including abuse of minors, schism and sacramental desecration. Source: CNA.

The Pope promulgated the new adaptations to the “Norms on the delicts reserved for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith” yesterday, with the revision of Book VI of the Code of Canon Law going into effect today.

The definition of the delicts, or crimes, themselves have not been changed. But the new version of the norms aligns with the revisions to Book VI, as well as recent laws Pope Francis has issued, including his motu proprios, As a loving mother and Vos estis lux mundi.

The new norms now also include the possibility of the Pope decreeing the dismissal from the clerical state directly, without a trial, in cases of crimes against the faith, such as heresy, apostasy, and schism.

The “Norms on the Delicts Reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith” were promulgated by John Paul II in 2001 and amended by Benedict XVI in 2010.

In addition to the crimes against the faith, the doctrinal congregation also judges crimes against the sacraments, including the desecration of a consecrated host, simulation of the Mass, solicitation to a sin against the sixth commandment during confession, and violation of the seal of confession.

Other grave delicts included in the norms are the attempted ordination of a woman, clerical abuse of a minor, and the possession of child pornography by a cleric.

“The changes that have been introduced mostly concern procedural aspects, aimed at clarifying and facilitating the proper conduct of the Church’s legal workings in the administration of justice,” reported Vatican News.


Pope Francis updates norms on crimes judged by Vatican’s doctrinal office (By Courtney Mares, CNA)


Pope Francis updates norms on more serious ecclesiastical crimes (Vatican News)

Pope approves updates to norms for dealing with ‘grave crimes’ (Crux) 

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