Pope facilitates Vatican prosecutions for cardinals, bishops

U.S. & World
Vatican Reform

FILE – In this Dec. 21, 2019 file photo, Pope Francis listens to Cardinal Angelo Sodano, standing at left with back to camera, as he delivers his speech on the occasion of the pontiff’s Christmas greetings to the Roman Curia, in the Clementine Hall at the Vatican. Pope Francis sent another chilling message to Vatican-based cardinals on Friday about his intent to hold them accountable for criminal misconduct, removing the legal obstacles that had prevented them from ever being prosecuted by the Vatican’s criminal tribunal. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, Pool)

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis has sent another message to Vatican-based cardinals about his intent to hold them accountable for criminal misconduct.

Francis approved a new law on Friday that removes the legal obstacles that had prevented the Vatican’s criminal tribunal from prosecuting them. The law makes clear that Vatican city-state prosecutors have jurisdiction over cardinals and need only the pope’s consent to proceed with investigations against them.

The law abrogates a 2020 regulation that said only an appeals court composed of three cardinal judges could assess the actions of cardinals and bishops accused of criminal offenses.

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