Priests who sexually abuse mentally impaired adults will now be sanctioned by the Vatican under a soon-to-be-released set of procedures for handling clerical abuse cases.
A church source close to the Vatican told The Associated Press on Thursday that the reference would be included in the document alongside minors under the age of 18 in identifying victims of clerical abuse whose cases are handled directly by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The Congregation’s instruction will be the first major document to be published since the abuse scandal erupted earlier this year. Most of the norms included in it are already being used. The reference to adults with an “imperfect use of reason” marks a concrete new element.