The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is welcoming new directions from Pope Francis for holding bishops and religious superiors accountable for protecting children, members of religious orders, and seminarians from abuse.

On May 9, the Holy Father published an Apostolic Letter entitled Vos estis lux mundi (You are the light of the world). The new document is meant to help bishops and religious leaders around the world clearly understand their duties and Church law, underlining how they are ultimately responsible for proper governance and protecting those entrusted to their care. It establishes a clearer set of universal procedures for reporting suspected abuse, carrying out initial investigations and protecting victims and whistleblowers.

"This document clarifies a number of issues with regard to reporting procedures and accountability within the Church, and it demonstrates Pope Francis' commitment to amend the Code of Canon Law with the inclusion of serious measures to protect the most vulnerable from sexual abuse," the CCCB said in a statement following release of the document.

"The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is pleased to receive these new norms as the Church's response 'to prevent and combat these crimes that betray the trust of the faithful.' The CCCB will study the new norms and take the necessary steps to ensure that Bishops are properly informed so that they may implement them in their dioceses/eparchies in a manner which complements and enhances the CCCB Guidelines released in 2018."