Earlier today, the pope issued a decree mandating various changes to abuse reporting in the Catholic Church. Among the changes:
- Anyone in the church, lay or clergy, who believes or suspects that abuse has occurred is required to report it to church officials.
- Required reporting of coverup, defined as “actions or omissions intended to interfere with or avoid” civil or canonical investigations.
- Whistleblower protection, albeit limited in scope.
- An increase in the age of consent from 16 to 18.
- The inclusion of possession of child pornography in the list of offenses.
- Reporting to civil authorities per local law.
- The ability to report to regional metropolitans in situations that may implicate a bishop.
- The ability to report coverup and other abuse of power directly to Rome.
- The requirement that victims be treated with respect.