The Catholic Church makes moves to change policy while a new bill in Connecticut threatens lawsuits against the Church. The without giving any details the Vatican announced today that it is overhauling its rules on how to deal with accusations of sexual abuse by priests. The Vatican stated they had been working on updating the 2001 rules “for sometime.”
As the Catholic Church fights the perception that it has tried to hush up abuse in the past. The Vatican published a new summary of its procedures on sexual abuse cases Monday. Allegations of widespread child abuse by clergy has surfaced in Ireland, Germany, Austria and The Netherlands has badly shaken the church around the world.
Creating a fervent response from the state’s Roman Catholic bishops, a new bill in Connecticut would remove the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases. The bishops released a letter to parishioners on Saturday, imploring them to oppose the measure.
Recently Internal Catholic Church documents have surfaced in the United States which critics say link Pope Benedict XVI personally to attempts to cover up abuse. The letters in question detail a Wisconsin priest accused of molesting hundreds of deaf boys over two decades. The Vatican maintains were not written to Rome until long after the abuse took place.
Under current Connecticut law, sexual abuse victims have 30 years past their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit. The proposed change to the law would rescind that statute of limitations.
In the letter released on Saturday to Connecticut parishioners written by three Roman Catholic bishops stated the proposed change to the law would put “all Church institutions, including your parish, at risk.” It also asked parishioners to contact their legislators in opposition of the bill. The letter is posted on the Web site of the Connecticut Catholic Public Affairs Conference.