VATICAN CITY, KOMPAS.com – Pope Francis decreed that para bishop and cardinals who serve in the Vatican will be tried by lay courts, the same as in other criminal cases and no longer by an elite panel of prelates.
Pope Francis issued a decree invalidating the inner provisions civil criminal law Vatican on Friday (30/4/2021).
Initially, bishops and cardinals were only tried by the Court of Cassation, the highest body of cardinals and other high-ranking priests.
In recent years, there have been cases in which ordinary people caught in criminal investigations have been tried and sentenced by ordinary courts, which are composed of non-priests.
Meanwhile, the cardinals involved in the same case, were not tried at all or received special treatment.
In his preface to the decree, Pope Francis said civil law in the Vatican, which is a sovereign city-state, must be “without the privileges that were in place in the past, which are no longer in line” with individual responsibility.
Reuters proclaimed on Friday (30/4/2021), the changes are expected to apply mostly to financial crimes.
This rule is expected to streamline the legal process of holding Vatican-based cardinals and bishops accountable. Especially if they are suspected of doing something wrong.
However, the Pope still has the authority to approve the start of an investigation or trial.
“While the changes will make it easier for cardinals and bishops based at the Vatican to be investigated and prosecuted, their protection is also provided with two opportunities to appeal,” the expert said. Catholic Church law to Reuters.
This is the second time in recent days Pope Francis has sent a clear signal to the cardinals about the need for more accountability.
On Thursday (29/4/2021) the leader of the Roman Catholic Church also issued another decree. Its content mandates transparency and full economic control for Vatican managers, including for cardinals.
It also stipulated that they could not accept personal gifts of more than 40 euros (US $ 49).
The new rules on courts of first instance in criminal cases could affect Cardinal Angelo Becciu.
Becciu was sacked by the Roman Catholic 266th Pope, from the top post of the Vatican last year. He was caught in charges of embezzlement and nepotism. But Becciu denies any wrongdoing.