3.1.i Like the alleged victim, the accused too must be accorded natural justice, civil justice and canonical
justice60Financial assistance to ensure the effective delivery of justice will be provided on a case-by-case basis, subject to legal advice.. In particular61The list which follows is not exhaustive but focuses on core fundamental human rights contained in the Code of Canon Law, e.g. the right to due process. Evidently, a person's fundamental human rights, as guaranteed by international convention and national legislation, must also be protected and only restricted if and when the law itself requires it., the following must be strictly observed with regard to the accused person:
- the right to be presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in accordance with the law62Cf. Canon 1526 §1, http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P5U.HTM. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 11, http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/
- the right to a good reputation, unless it must be legitimately called into question63Canon 220, http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__PU.HTM
- the right to protect one's own privacy64Canon 220.
- the right to vindicate and defend one's own rights in accordance with the law65Canon 221 §1.
- the right, if called to trial, to be tried in accordance with the prescripts of the law applied with equity66Canon 221 §2.
- the right not to be punished with canonical penalties except in accordance with the law67Canon 221 §3.
- the right not to be put under oath or to confess to any crime68Canon 1728 §2.
- and the right for the restriction of one's rights to be operated solely by legitimate means.69Canons 36 §1, 223 and 1722. Cf. also canon 1715 §1 which contains the principle that matters pertaining to the public good, e.g. a person's fundamental human and ecclesial rights, may not be subject to private agreements, http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P6U.HTM
3.1.ii After any initial pastoral communication with the accused, and before any formal meetings with
Church authorities, all categories of accused must be informed by the Bishop or Major Superior of their
right to civil and canonical legal support, as well as to moral support.
3.1.iii During the progress of the allegation, its investigation and the completion of any related process, the
accused must be given a full explanation of what is happening, unless the Bishop or Major Superior is
restricted from doing so by reason of a ruling from a statutory agency or civil court. Ongoing support
for the accused, and for his/her family, must be available throughout the process.
3.2 A Church volunteer against whom an allegation is made must be invited to step down70Canon 223 §1: "In exercising their rights, the Christian faithful, both as individuals and gathered together in associations, must take into account the common good of the Church, the rights of others, and their own duties toward others." http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__PU.HTM during the
investigation and adjudication of the case by the statutory authorities. Some written record, signed by
the volunteer and by the Church representative, must be made of any voluntary self-restriction. If the
volunteer refuses to step down willingly, suspension must be communicated in writing to the
volunteer by the Bishop or Major Superior, or by his or her delegate, preferably in a personal meeting.
As with all such executive decisions by authority, the person who may feel aggrieved has the right to
administrative recourse in accordance with the law.71Canons 1732-1739.
3.3 If the allegation is made against a Church employee, then the person enjoys all the rights afforded by
UK Employment Law72Employment Rights Act 1996. Statutory Agencies may be involved in such cases.. With the support of Human Resources personnel, the accused must be made
aware of the allegation at the appropriate time. The terms of employment of the accused must be
followed in relation to suspension from work or whatever action is deemed appropriate during the
statutory authorities' investigation.
3.4 In the case of a professed religious brother or sister or of a non-clerical member of a religious institute,
the Bishop or Major Superior must proceed in accordance with the Code of Canon Law and hence
decree the opening of a preliminary investigation.73Canons 695 §2 and 1717-1719. Cf. http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P2C.HTM The person concerned will be invited to step back
voluntarily from pastoral work for the duration of the investigation. This voluntary action can be
strengthened by a promissory oath if the person so wishes.74Canons 223 §1 with 1199-1204. http://www.vatican.va/archive/cod-iuris-canonici/latin/documents/cic_liberIV_lt.html#pars2%20tit5 If the person refuses to step back, the
Bishop or Major Superior may issue a decree of cautionary suspension.75Canon 1722. If the allegation is one of
sexual abuse of a minor or of a vulnerable adult who habitually lacks the use of reason, the person
concerned has the right to have recourse against this decree to the Congregation for the Doctrine of
the Faith after having first asked the Bishop or Major Superior, but without success, to withdraw or
amend the decree.76Canons 1734-1739. If the allegation is one of sexual abuse of a vulnerable adult who does not
habitually lack the use of reason, the person concerned has the right to have recourse against the
decree to the Congregation for Institutes of Religious Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, after having
first asked the Bishop or Major Superior, but without success, to withdraw or amend the decree.
3.5 If the allegation is made against a seminarian, his bishop, in consultation with the seminary rector,
must decide whether the seminarian may continue in the seminary, or is to be suspended or
dismissed, depending on the nature of the allegation and all other pertinent circumstances. The rector
must inform the seminarian that an allegation about him has been reported to the statutory
3.6.i If the allegation is against a cleric, the Bishop or Major Superior must personally inform him that an
allegation against him has been reported to the statutory authorities, where this is legally permissible
3.6.ii Having decreed the opening of the preliminary investigation, the Bishop or Major Superior is not
obliged to, but may, restrict by decree the exercise of the rights of the accused cleric. He may however
do so solely for the reasons prescribed in canon 1722, namely: 1) to prevent scandal; 2) to protect the
freedom of witnesses; and 3) to guard the course of justice. The rights whose exercise may be
restricted by the Bishop or Major Superior are solely those associated with the measures prescribed in
canon 1722, namely: 1) exclusion from the exercise of the sacred ministry; 2) exclusion from an
ecclesiastical office or function; 3) the order to, or prohibition from, residing in a given place or
territory; and 4) the prohibition from public participation in the Most Holy Eucharist. The Bishop or
Major Superior may impose one, more or all of these measures. Yet he must review and modify his
decree if and when the cause or causes giving rise to one, more or all of the restrictive measures has or
have ceased. The Bishop or Major Superior must hear the opinion of the Promoter of Justice before
coming to his decision.
3.6.iii As an alternative to the canon 1722 decree, the Bishop or Major Superior may first invite the accused
voluntarily to accept the restrictive measures which would otherwise be imposed on him. Indeed, the
Bishop or Major Superior, or the accused himself, may also propose further restrictive measures which
go beyond those contained canon 1722, provided such further measures are warranted by the
situation and are not unduly burdensome on the accused or on anyone else. This voluntary restriction
of rights would be assumed in order to "take into account the common good of the Church, the rights
of others, and [the accused's] own duties towards others"77Canon 223 §1. arising from the new situation born from
the allegation. The Bishop or Major Superior could also, if the circumstances suggest it, propose to the
cleric that he strengthen and solemnize his voluntary acceptance by taking a promissory oath.78Canon 1201 §1 The
conditions under which the oath may be taken79Can. 1199 §1: "An oath, that is, the invocation of the divine name in witness to the truth, cannot be taken unless in truth, in judgment, and in justice. §2. An oath which the canons require or permit cannot be taken validly through a proxy." Can. 1200 §1: "A person who freely swears to do something is bound by a special obligation of religion to fulfill what he or she affirmed by oath." and under which it ceases must be clearly explained
to the cleric who, of course, has the right to canonical advice.80Can. 1202: "The obligation arising from a promissory oath ceases: 1. if it is remitted by the person for whose benefit the oath was made; 2. if the matter sworn to is substantially changed or if, after the circumstances have changed, it becomes either evil or entirely indifferent or, finally, impedes a greater good; 3. if the purpose or a condition under which the oath may have been taken ceases; 4. by dispensation or commutation, according to the norm of can. 1203." Canon 1203: "Those who can suspend, dispense, or commute a vow have the same power in the same manner over a promissory oath; but if the dispensation from the oath tends to the disadvantage of others who refuse to remit the obligation of the oath, only the Apostolic See can dispense the oath."
3.6.iv At all times, the cleric should be kept updated as to what progress is being made, as far as possible.