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Pope releases legal privileges for cardinals, Vatican bishops

Pope Francis performs Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican April 25, 2021.REUTERS / Remo Casilli / File Photo

Pope Francis ruled on Friday that the priests and cardinals working in the Vatican would be judged by the same court that listened to other criminal cases and would no longer be considered by the high prelate.

Francis issued an order repealing the provisions of the Vatican Criminal Code, with the bishops and cardinals judged only by the Cassia Court, a leading organization made up of cardinals and other high-ranking priests.

In recent years, there have been cases in which individuals caught in a criminal investigation have been convicted and sentenced by ordinary courts consisting of those who were not ordained while the cardinals involved in the same case did not. Get a judge or get a special treatment

In the preface to the decree, Francis said civil law within the Vatican, a sovereign city-state, should “No longer the privilege of going back and forth and inconsistent” with individual responsibility.

The change, expected to apply mostly to financial crime, will help streamline the process of holding Vatican claudiuses and bishops if they are accused of wrongdoing.

The pope will still have to approve the initiation of any investigation or trial.

Although the change will make it easier for Cardinals and bishops in the Vatican to be investigated and prosecuted. But they also extended their protection by giving two opportunities to appeal, Church legal experts said.

It is the second time in several days that Francis has sent a clear signal to the Cardinals about the need for greater accountability.

On Thursday he issued another decree mandating full disclosure and economic control for Vatican managers, including the Cardinals, and stipulated that no one could accept personal gifts worth more than 40 euros.

The new rules on the Court of First Instance in the criminal case could affect Cardinal Angelo Beck Siu, who Francis was fired from the Vatican’s leading position last year following allegations of embezzlement and discrimination against Becciu. Deny any wrongdoing

Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principle.

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