ten categories or situations.108 The Instruction provided explicit rules to be followed in
circumstances where allegations of delict conduct were made:
Extrajudicial denunciations received regarding delicts against the faith and against
morals, and regarding delicts perpetrated against the sacrament of penance.
Likewise, the process and decision which pertain to those denunciations, always
safeguarding the right of him who has been reported to authorities to know of the
denunciation if such knowledge is necessary for his own defense. However, it will
be permissible to make known the name of the denouncer then only
when authorities think it opportune that the denounced and the denouncer come
face to face.109
The Instruction clarified that the Pontifical Secret covered any penal process concerning major
crimes that were handled by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, including cases
involving the sexual abuse of minors, not just information obtained in the Church’s internal
inquiries and trials.110
3. Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela
In 1983, the Crimen Sollicitationis was repealed, but the Secreta Continere remains in
place.111 In 2001, Pope John Paul II issued his Motu Propio, Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela,
which introduced new procedures and protocols for how the Church must handle offending clergy
members.112 Pope John Paul II reiterated that the Pontifical Secret was to be applied to the new
procedures regarding child sexual abuse.113 In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI extended the Pontifical
Secret’s coverage to clerics who possessed child pornography, as well.114
B. The Church’s Disciplinary System
Crimen Sollicitationis introduced a pastoral approach as a disciplinary means for clergy
members who sexually abused children.115 The Church selected a method that advocated for the
reformation of an offending clergy member instead of dismissal.116 Among the penalties imposed
on clerics who were found guilty of sexual abuse was being subjected to special supervision by a
108 CANON LAW DIGEST, supra note 107, at 207.
110 See Rescriptum Ex Audientia, ACTA APOSTOLICAE SEDIS, at VII, 89–92 (1974),
http://www.vatican.va/archive/aas/documents/AAS-66-1974-ocr.pdf.; English Translation at Sacromentorum
Sanctiatis, SUBSTANTIVE NORMS (2001 with 2003 changes) 1, 2, 4 (Feb. 14, 2003),
111 TAPSELL, supra note 84, at 14.
115 Id. at 16.