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Vatican says Catholic bishops not obligated to report child abuse


Pope unleashes ‘super confessors’ to tackle special sins

The Catholic church has issued a new directive instructing bishops to deal with accusations of clerical child abuse internally and “not necessarily” report it to the police.

According to The Guardian, the training document that was recently released by the Vatican says that only victims or their families should make the decision to report abuse to police.

“According to the state of civil laws of each country where reporting is obligatory, it is not necessarily the duty of the bishop to report suspects to authorities, the police or state prosecutors in the moment when they are made aware of crimes or sinful deeds,” the training document states.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday over 1,000 “missionaries of mercy”, handpicked by Pope Francis, were sent forth to win back the hearts of those who have left the Catholic Church and open the door to repentant sinners across the world.

Dubbed ‘super confessors’,  for one year only they can absolve sins usually only pardoned by the pope himself.

There are certain evils the Vatican ranks above other sins, from attempting to assassinate the pope to defiling the Eucharist — the rite of consuming consecrated bread and wine in Church — by spitting it out or using it in a Satanic ritual.

Since the 12th century, those guilty of these so-called “reserved sins” had their cases evaluated by a secret tribunal in the tiny Vatican city state before they were sent before the pope, who would determine an appropriate penance.

Now, 1,142 priests and monks from around the world have be given the power, for the Vatican’s Jubilee Year, to forgive sinners in their flocks — and possibly fellow priests as one of the special sins is breaking the seal of confession.

Maltese Franciscan Marcello Ghirlando, 53, told AFP he thought giving the ‘super confessors’ authority usually reserved for the man in white was “a symbolic gesture” to show people the Church is ready to wipe slates clean.

“I think the pope wants to insist that ‘listen, God is always going to forgive us if we turn to him with a clean heart, with a repentant heart’,” he said with a grin, adding that he was relishing the challenge of bringing people back to church.

Pope Francis has repeatedly warned priests not to turn off potential believers by being boring, inaccessible or overly intrusive, and on Tuesday he told the missionaries they should take a “maternal” approach to sinners.

“Remember, you are not dealing with sin but a repentant sinner, a sinner who wants to change but can’t,” he said, telling them to “cover the sinner with a blanket of mercy, so that he is no longer ashamed and can rediscover joy.”

‘Spiritual, social revolution’

Some of the super confessors are already thinking


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