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Pope Francis initiates probe into 'cover-up' bishops

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New tribunal: Pope Francis

New tribunal: Pope Francis

AFP/Getty Images

New tribunal: Pope Francis

Pope Francis has created a new Vatican tribunal to hear cases of bishops who fail to protect children from sexually abusive priests.

The move marks the biggest step yet that the Vatican has taken to hold bishops accountable.

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 and adjudicate them with the creation of a special judicial section inside the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

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