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On Thursday, Pope Francis released new norms for handling clerical sex abuse.
In a motu proprio titled Vos Estis Lux Mundi ("You are the light of the world"), Francis extends protections to seminarians and religious coerced into sex by their superiors, elevating such abuse to the same category as assaults against minors and vulnerable adults.
But looking closer, glaring deficiencies quickly emerge.
The new norms actually allow bishops to police themselves by putting the metropolitan in charge of investigating all abuse allegations.
In article 10, the document states, "Unless the report is manifestly unfounded, the Metropolitan immediately requests, from the competent Dicastery, that he be assigned to commence the investigation. If the Metropolitan considers the report manifestly unfounded, he shall so inform the Pontifical Representative."
In other words, if the norms had been in place while serial homosexual predator Theodore McCarrick was head of the archdiocese of Washington, he would have had the first and final say over the merit of an allegation of abuse in the suffragan diocese of St. Thomas.