The Catholic Church's New Abuse Laws Discussed at Notre Dame

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The Catholic Church's New Abuse Laws Discussed at Notre Dame

The new laws require church leaders to report abuse.

SOUTH BEND, Ind.--You've been hearing more about sexual abuse, suspensions and even arrests of leaders in the Catholic Church because Pope Francis made several new laws this year to try and stop the abuse. Archbishop of Malta Charles Scicluna, talked about abuse in the church during a Q&A at the University of Notre Dame, Wednesday.

"There is now, not only the moral, that has always been there, but also the legal obligation of clergy to report abuse where it happens and when they know about it," said Scicluna. He compared the darkness of the abuse scandals to visiting the death caps at Auschwitz.

"You're dealing with a human being who has been hurt and betrayed on a level that we cannot understand until we understand it is a spiritual betrayal."

Scicluna said he would like to see a reporting procedure in place for every archdiocese.

"We also have a law that for the first time in the history of the church gives a very clear expression of the duty to care for victim survivors," he said.

He noted that some of the points of the new law have always been around as understood moral obligations, but have now been made requirements.

"For the first time we have a very clear cut procedure that will hold into account leaders who are guilty of misconduct and cover up," he said. "We're talking about cardinals, archbishops, bishops and superior generals of religious congregations."

He said the new law also includes a definition of a vulnerable person, and offers protection for people who report abuse.

"Meeting the victims and being able to approach the gaping wound is tough. But, it's also a privilege because it's a way of being close to Jesus' suffering."

PHOTO: Notre Dame

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