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French Bishops’ Response to Abuses: National Canonical Criminal Tribunal Begins Its Functions

(ZENIT News / Paris, 06.12.2022).- On Monday, December 5, the Catholic Church in France established officially the functions of the National Canonical Criminal Tribunal . It is an internal criminal court of the Catholic Church in France, which will be concerned with canonical crimes committed by clergymen or laymen. The new Tribunal is replacing, in criminal matters, the diocesan and inter-diocesan tribunals that exist in France. Its jurisdiction will extend to the whole national territory. 

The creation of this Tribunal was voted on by all France’s Bishops during their Plenary Assembly, held in March 2021. In keeping with the recommendations of the CIASE Report (in particular n. 40), its functioning is based on collegiate trials and on the integration not only of expert priests but also judges and other lay collaborators that are especially formed. 

The new National Canonical Criminal Tribunal is an unprecedented institution: it doesn’t exist in the Church in this way and with this field of competence in any other Episcopal Conference in the world.

For additional information on this new Tribunal consult the French Episcopate’s Website.