Catholic priests to be made to wear QR codes so people can tell if they’re sex offenders or not
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: Godong / Alamy Stock Photo / Shutterstock
Catholic priests in France will be made to wear QR codes so members of the public can scan them to find out whether they are a sex offender or not.
People can use their mobile phone to scan the wallet-sized ID cards which will then bring up a traffic light system as part of a sexual abuse clampdown.
Members of the public will see a green, orange or red light depending on the priest’s status.
The ID card will be introduced to show information about the priest and it’s main function is to reveal whether the priest is qualified to lead mass or hear confession. The code will also disclose whether the priest has been stripped of clerical status.
It will not explicitly state by the priest has had their status stripped, however a red colour code would serve as a signal that they may have faced sexual abuse charges.
The public can therefore find out whether their bishops, deacons and priests are possible sex offenders, according to broadcaster France 24.
The orange light could indicate that a priest who has been ordained recently is not fully qualified to lead mass yet.
Green indicates that the priest is fully authorised to lead mass.
The new system was confirmed at the French Bishops’ Conference is designed to make the church more transparent, however the move has been met with criticism from some sex abuse survivor groups.
According to France 24, François Devaux, a former president of the Church abuse survivors group La Parole Libérée (The Liberated Word), said: “It’s quite an exceptional measure which, in my opinion, is one of the Catholic Church’s top three most stupid ideas.”
He added: “If we have to scan the QR codes of clergy members to reassure Catholics, it means the Church has hit a new low. It’s nothing more than a publicity stunt, and it shows the extent to which trust has been broken between the faithful and their hierarchy."
French Catholic priests are already required to carry a paper document called a 'celebret' which confirms their profession and qualification however these have been criticised for being difficult to keep up-to-date.
In a statement announcing their new digital system, which is expected to be less cumbersome than paper documents, the Catholic Church explained that the new ID card would help them crack down on imposter priests with fake celebret documents and 'intensify the fight against sexual violence in the Church'.
The database that lists the status of each priest will be updated once each year. However, in cases of serious infractions, the database will be updated immediately.
While Bishops have received their cards already, 18,000 deacons and priests are still due to receive their cards by the end of this year.
Topics: News, France, Catholic Church