Pope approves updates to norms for dealing with 'grave crimes'

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis has given formal approval to a series of updates and modifications that have been made over the years to the norms regarding clerical sexual abuse and other crimes reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The newest version of the so-called "Norms on the delicts reserved to the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith" does not introduce any new crimes, but it does seek to improve the procedural norms regarding the penal process and to update those canons connected with the recently revised "Book VI: Penal Sanctions in the Church" that was to go into effect Dec. 8.

The document, published by the Vatican Dec. 7, changes and updates modifications St. John Paul II in 2001 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 made to the list of canonical delicts or crimes reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the procedures for handling such cases.