New standards for reporting sexual abuse in the Catholic Church

New standards are being put into place in the Catholic Church when it comes to reporting sexual abuse.

Pope Francis announced the new norms last week. We spoke with the Bishop of the Bismarck Diocese and he says it's a welcome change, although area churches won't be starting from scratch when it comes to creating a reporting system.

Bishop David Kagan of the Bismarck Diocese says new standards sent down by Pope Francis are a welcome change

"Without a doubt, there was a gap,” Kagan said.

The vos estis lux mundi establishes procedures for who is responsible to file allegations of sexual abuse, how investigations are handled and it requires all dioceses to have a system in place for reporting those claims. Kagan says his diocese has had a network in place for more than 15 years, and the biggest change will be how reports are filed against bishops.

"That wasn't in the charter and it wasn't in the essential norms the Holy Father has remedied that and that's a welcome remedy,” Kagan said.

Kagan says the Pope's directive fills in a lot of blanks, but he believes they do a good job educating all priests, deacons and employees of the diocese.

"As uncomfortable as you may be reporting this you simply have to do it,” Kagan said.

There are 57 active priests, 17 who are retired, more than 80 deacons and over 30 diocesan staff members in the Bismarck diocese.

The changes go into effect on June 1st of this year, and the standards have to be completely implemented by the beginning of June 2020.