Pope Francis has quietly reduced sanctions against a handful of paedophile priests, applying his vision of a merciful church even to its worst offenders in ways that survivors of abuse and the Pope’s own advisers question.
One case has come back to haunt him. An Italian priest who received the Pope’s clemency was later convicted by an Italian criminal court for his sex crimes against children as young as 12. The Rev. Mauro Inzoli is now facing a second church trial after new evidence emerged against him.
The Inzoli case is one of several in which Pope Francis overruled the advice of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and reduced a sentence that called for the priest to be defrocked, two canon lawyers and a church official told AP. Instead, the priests were sentenced to penalties, including a lifetime of penance and prayer and removal from public …
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