Vatican City, 26 April, 2022 / 8:00 pm (ACI Africa).
Pope Francis issued an apostolic letter on Tuesday bringing Church law up to date on the rules for dismissal from religious institutes, in light of the updated penal law on sanctions related to clerical sexual abuse and other crimes.
The pope explained that the modification makes the line consistent with the major revisions made last year to Book VI of the code’s penal law, which classified some crimes differently and introduced new crimes.
The new text of canon 695 §1 says: “A religious must be dismissed from the institute for the delicts mentioned in can. 1395, 1397, and 1398, unless in the delicts mentioned in can. 1395, §2-3 and 1398 §1, the superior decides that dismissal is not completely necessary and that correction of the religious, restitution of justice, and reparation of scandal can be resolved sufficiently in another way.”
The Code of Canon Law defines a religious institute as “a society in which members, according to proper law, pronounce public vows, either perpetual or temporary which are to be renewed, however, when the period of time has elapsed, and lead a life of brothers or sisters in common.”