Pope Francis has appointed the Vatican’s former chief prosecutor, Bishop Charles Scicluna, as the head of a new body to handle appeals by priests accused of abuse.
The seven-member body, which Pope Francis created in November, will work under the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and will judge cases involving the sexual abuse of minors and abuses involving the Sacrament of Confession.
Other members include Cardinals Zenon Grocholewski, Attilio Nicora, Francesco Coccopalmerio and Giuseppe Versaldi; and Archbishop José Luis Mollaghan and Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta Ochoa de Chinchetru.
Bishop Sciclua, currently apostolic administrator of the archdiocese of Malta, served as Promoter of Justice at the CDF under Pope Benedict XVI. The Maltese bishop has been credited with instituting major reforms within the CDF to better report and deal with abuse allegations.
A separate safeguarding body, the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, was set up in March 2013 and comprises lay people including abuse survivors and psychiatrists.