The Vatican is working on a papal document that would establish procedures for Catholics to report bishops suspected of sexual abuse or negligence in sexual abuse cases, according to two Vatican sources, ONA reports citing Reuters.
The document, still in its early stages, would be the second official pronouncement by Pope Francis on the global sexual abuse crisis since he presided at a summit of senior bishops at the Vatican in February.
In its current form, the document is a Motu Proprio, or a personal papal edict. Its working title is “Moral Responsibility”, one of the sources said.
The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the matter.
The current draft of the document includes elements of suggestions made by bishops in the United States on setting up an accessible and user friendly reporting mechanism.
The draft calls for the creation of a fund to cover the costs of reporting procedures and investigations. If the diocese is in a poor country, the costs could be picked up by one of the Vatican departments that can investigate bishops, the current draft says, according to one of the sources said.
The draft speaks of the inclusion of lay people in overseeing the reporting process. Victims of sexual abuse and their advocates have demanded that non-clerics be involved, saying bishops could not police themselves.
The sources said the type, content and title of the document could change as it develops.