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Rome Reports

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Pope abolishes privileges for cardinals: they will not be judged by special tribunal

Cardinals will no longer be tried by a special tribunal. Now, they will go through the same process as any other person accused of crimes in Vatican City State. 

Just as the authorization of Parliament is required to judge heads of government or ministers, in this case only the Pope's consent will be necessary to prosecute them. 

A few weeks ago, during the inauguration of the judicial year, Pope Francis had already called for the elimination of privileges in the Vatican courts.

"It will be necessary to take into account the overriding need for the current procedural system — also by means of appropriate changes in the law — to ensure the equality of all members of the Church and their equal dignity and position, without privileges that date back to earlier times and are no longer in keeping with the responsibilities that each person has in building up the Church.”

Until now cardinals were judged by a special tribunal composed of three cardinals and two or more judges. 

The change makes it easier to initiate proceedings against cardinals for criminal offenses.

The Pope is revising the legal system of Vatican City State. With this change he stresses that all are equal before the law. 

The change could affect pending proceedings against former Cardinal Angelo Becciu, who in September resigned from all responsibilities amid a case of possible embezzlement.

Javier Romero