Delicts of Sexual Abuse in the Revised Penal Law

Centre for Safeguarding Minors and Vulnerable Persons

What’s so new about the revised body of penal laws that Pope Francis has promulgated for the Latin Catholic Church? What changes has he made about the delicts of sexual abuse in the Church?  What are these delicts, and who commits them?  What does this new law say about those who keep sexual abuse “secret,” whether by not reporting it or by covering it up? 

The new penal legislation of Pope Francis, which came into effect 8 December 2021, says that delicts of sexual abuse are committed against minors, those who habitually have the imperfect use of reason, and “vulnerable persons.” These delicts are considered violations of the human life, dignity, and freedom of the victims. Significantly, this new law says that these delicts can be committed by clergy, non-ordained consecrate persons (brothers and sisters), and lay persons who hold church leadership positions.  Until now, only clergy committed delicts of sexual abuse.

In this webinar of November 2021, presented by Monsignor John Renken of St. Paul’s University, Ottawa, Canada, he offered a practical analysis of the delicts of sexual abuse in the revised penal law over recent decades.  It also studies two related delicts: (1) the delict of “silence by mandated reporters” and (2) the delict of “covering up sexual abuse” by church authorities. 

Download and view Monsignor John Renken ‘s PowerPoint Presentation here.

Watch Original Webinar in English and read the Transcript here.

Watch Revised YouTube Version here.

Original Webinar PDF information: