Instead of referring to sexual abuse against minors as pedophilia, the revision refers to the offences as dismissive of the sixth commandment, wherein adultery is prohibited.
Now, the offences will be grouped under a new heading “Offenses against human life, dignity and liberty”. Earlier, sexual crimes against minors were flagged under “delicts against special obligations.” A priest engaging in pedophilia will be stripped of his office and potentially face “other just penalties” if he “commits an offence against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue with a minor”.
The changes will take effect in December. Pope Francis said that the revision intends to rewrite the ideals of justice and mercy, which have been “misinterpreted”. In addition, he said that the revision would limit the dependence on discretion of judges while dealing with such crimes.
Pope Francis took charge in 2013 and has undertaken several measures to counter the sexual abuse which was plagued the church for decades. In 2019, Pope Francis called a summit on clerical sex abuse while lifting rules of secrecy which critics thought used to hinder investigations.