The Swiss Bishops Conference has revealed an ongoing Vatican-ordered investigation into the handling of sexual abuse allegations by Church officials, with the inquiry expected to run until at least the end of the year. Source: CNA.
The conference said in a statement on Monday that allegations had been made in May “against several emeriti and acting members of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference” as well as against “other clerics in their handling of sexual abuse cases”.
Church authorities in Switzerland forwarded the allegations to the Dicastery for Bishops in Rome. Several weeks later the dicastery “ordered a preliminary canonical investigation into the matter”, appointing Chur Diocese Bishop Joseph Bonnemain to lead the inquiry.
Bishop Bonnemain previously handled similar investigations in Switzerland for more than 30 years, the conference said. His investigation “is underway and is expected to be completed by the end of the year”.
The primary purpose of the investigation, the announcement said, is “the accusations of covering up cases of abuse”. The criminal allegations of sexual abuse, the statement said, are handled by secular authorities and have been reported to them.
The conference said it was “unable to provide further details” due to the ongoing nature of the inquiry.
The bishops noted that the “preliminary” investigation is meant to determine “whether there is sufficient evidence to initiate ecclesiastical criminal or disciplinary proceedings.” The results of the initial inquiry are then forwarded to the dicastery, which will determine how to proceed.
Vatican investigating Swiss bishops’ handling of sex abuse cases (By Daniel Payne, CNA)