NPR

Has Catholic Canon Law Aggravated The Clergy Abuse Crisis?

Critics say Catholic law favors secrecy over transparency and discourages bishops from punishing abusive priests. Increasingly, civil authorities are taking on these investigations.

Among the potential victims of the Catholic clergy abuse crisis is one whose roots date to the early years of Christianity: the Catholic canon law system.

Each new revelation that a priest has molested a child and gone unpunished by his bishop has brought charges that part of the problem may be canonical procedures that fail to ensure justice for the victim.

The Roman Catholic church has long had its own legal system, incorporating a judicial framework and a complex set of laws, or canons, regulating church

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