The Catholic University of America

Kurt Martens, associate professor, canon law, was quoted in March in an AP story on the Pope's abuse accountability tribunal. He was quoted again in the news service in June when the pope scrapped the tribunal. See below.

Pope Francis Scraps Abuse Tribunal for Bishops Who Cover Up Pedophile Priests

From: AP (via NBC News)
Date: June 4, 2016
Author: Nicole Winfield

... Analysts suggested the new law was much ado about very little.

 

"There is nothing breaking here: The congregations could already do that," said Kurt Martens, professor of canon law at The Catholic University of America.

He said what is significant about the new law is that it makes no mention of the original proposal for the tribunal, which would have treated negligence as a crime and prosecuted it as such.

"Does that mean the tribunal isn't going to come because there was too much opposition?" he asked. ...

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Pope Francis’ abuse accountability tribunal going nowhere fast

From: AP (via Salt Lake Tribune)
Date: March 9, 2016
Author: Nicole Winfield

... But to even a casual observer, the original announcement raised significant bureaucratic questions. It tasked three other Vatican congregations with conducting preliminary investigations into accused bishops, a hurdle in and of itself given their limited resources and expertise. In addition, the Vatican's various congregations operate as individual fiefdoms: By what mechanism would these three fiefdoms then turn their cases over to a new tribunal?

"When it was announced I knew it would be a problem," said Kurt Martens, professor of canon law at The Catholic University of America in Washington.

He said a key question that must be resolved is the negligence standard by which bishops would be judged. Would bishops be held to the same standard of reporting abusers to police when civil reporting laws differ from country to country? What about prescription and retroactivity: Could bishops who botched abuse cases five, 10 or 20 years ago be brought before the new tribunal?

"It's a huge issue," Martens said. "Where do you draw the line?" ...

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