In a watershed moment for the Vatican with its troubled history of child sexual abuse, Pope Francis has signed a new universal law which covers the global Catholic church stating that a bishop’s negligence in response to clergy sexual abuse can lead to his removal from office.

Activists, survivors and victims who have been campaigning for the Vatican to recognise the scale of abuse within its own organisation and create accountability amongst its clergy,  will welcome the move.

The law formally mandates that bishops who fail to protect children must be prosecuted.

The Church of England is now lagging behind in its response to its own child sexual abuse crisis, and groups like MACSAS who have been campaigning tirelessly for accountability within the Church, will no doubt look to this latest piece of legislation by the Pope in Rome to place pressure on the Church of England to follow suit.

If you’d like more information on this topic, please see our debate in the House of Commons on religion, accountability and child sexual abuse.

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Pope Francis