Pope Francis has created a Vatican tribunal to hear cases of bishops accused of covering up child abuse by paedophile priests
The announcement marks the biggest step ever taken by the Catholic Church to hold bishops to account.
No bishop has ever been forcibly removed for covering up for guilty clergy, although in April, Francis accepted the resignation of a US bishop who had been convicted of failing to report a suspected child abuser.
The Vatican said that Francis had approved proposals made by his sexual abuse advisory board. They create a mechanism by which the Vatican can examine complaints of abuse of office by bishops and adjudicate them.
It calls for the creation of a special judicial section inside the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.