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.
The major revisions to Book VI of the Code of Canon Law, which covers penal law in the Church, including sanctions related to clerical sexual abuse, go into effect on Dec. 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.
The revisions were first commissioned by Benedict XVI to improve the efficacy of the code’s penal sanctions.
Speaking after the revisions were published, Msgr. C. Michael Padazinski, president of the Canon Law Society of America, said: “This reinvigoration of canon law is a welcome necessity to our member canonists’ work on behalf of the Church and will be, as the Holy Father says, an instrument for the good of souls.”
“Recategorizing the crime of sexual abuse of a minor from a delict against celibacy to a delict against the dignity of the human person is a remarkable development. It shows a shift from a mindset of concern focused primarily on an accused cleric to a concern for the individual who has been harmed,” he said.
Padazinski also highlighted the significance of the revisions coming into effect on the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
The date “reaffirms that life itself and the protection of human dignity begin at the instant a child is conceived in the mother’s womb,” he said.
Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At ACI Africa, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news from Africa, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church - so that you can grow in your Catholic faith.
When you subscribe to the ACI Africa Updates, we will send you a daily email with links to the news you need.
Use the form below to stay informed, and to tell us where we can send the ACI Africa Updates!
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.