Belief Beat

A few days after praying with clergy sex abuse survivors in Malta, Pope Benedict has announced that the Catholic Church will take action to bring justice to abusive priests and protect children in the future.

The Vatican has not yet elaborated on what kinds of measures are being considered, but the Associated Press story notes that the United States church’s zero-tolerance policy, adopted after the 2002 scandal here, is currently the strictest model out there. This concept may be catching on in Europe: the AP reports that the pope has accepted the resignation of Irish Bishop James Moriarty, and is expected to accept the December resignation offers of two auxiliary Dublin bishops over the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, the scandal continues unfolding around the world, with new abuse claims in Chile and Brazil. In North America, a Mexican man is suing Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony and Mexico’s Cardinal Noberto Rivera Carrera for allegedly conspiring to protect a pedophile priest. The lawsuit may be the first of its kind, using a 1789 U.S. law to demand a jury trial and compensation for offenses committed abroad by clergy.

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