The Catholic Church will begin providing priests and bishops in France digital ID cards with QR codes. The IDs are part of a recommendation to fight sexual abuse in the church.
The IDs are good for one year, and will display any potential restrictions a priest or bishop may have.
In addition to giving the name and date of birth of a priest, it will also indicate whether the person is allowed to be with a group of minors and whether they can be alone with a minor.
The cards will be given to 16,000 Catholic leaders in France. The church said that its priests and bishops must be able to produce the ID upon request.
“By flashing the QR code, with a smartphone or tablet, an indicator indicates whether or not the ordained minister has specific restrictions on the exercise of his ministry, but without specifying the nature, in order to respect the confidentiality of this personal data,” the Catholic Church said.
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Christine Pedotti, who runs the Christian magazine Témoignage Chrétien, explained the benefits of the new system to France 24.
“Today’s updated digital version is more modern and has a new feature that allows someone to check whether the priest has been suspended. It’s a good idea given the current context, and should prove quite useful,” she told France 24.
The Associated Press reported in 2021 that church officials estimated that at least 330,000 French children were sexually victimized within the Catholic Church over a 70-year period. Sexual abuse cases in the Catholic Church have been the subject of a number of investigations throughout the world.
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