World

Pope creates tribunal to hear cases of bishops who fail to protect kids from pedophile priests

  • Pope Francis exchanges his skull cap with one donated to him as he leaves at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    Pope Francis exchanges his skull cap with one donated to him as he leaves at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pope Francis exchanges his skull cap with one donated to him by a child as he leaves at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    Pope Francis exchanges his skull cap with one donated to him by a child as he leaves at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Saturday, June 6, 2015 file photo, Pope Francis attends an interreligious meeting, at the Franciscan International Student Center in Sarajevo. Pope Francis has created a new tribunal section inside the Vatican to hear cases of bishops accused of covering up for priests who raped and molested children, the biggest step the Holy See has taken to hold bishops accountable for abuse. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, File)

    FILE - In this Saturday, June 6, 2015 file photo, Pope Francis attends an interreligious meeting, at the Franciscan International Student Center in Sarajevo. Pope Francis has created a new tribunal section inside the Vatican to hear cases of bishops accused of covering up for priests who raped and molested children, the biggest step the Holy See has taken to hold bishops accountable for abuse. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, File)  (The Associated Press)

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

The move marks the biggest step yet 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 U.S. bishop who had been convicted of failing to report a suspected child abuser.

The Vatican said Wednesday 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.