New rules the Vatican is expected to issue soon on penalties for priests who sexually abuse children will also put the ordaining of women in the same category of the most serious crimes under church law.
Church sources told Catholic News Service that the new "norms," as the policies are called, will include the "attempted ordination of women" among the list of most serious crimes, or what are known as "delicta graviora."
Sexual abuse of a minor by a priest was added to the classification in 2001. The new norms are largely expected to codify changes made in 2001 and 2003 that were aimed at addressing the burgeoning clergy abuse scandal. But the policies expected to be issued later this month will also specifically include the abuse of mentally disabled adults as on par with abusing minors, and it will extend the statute of limitations under the Church's Code of Canon Law from 10 years after a victim turns 18 to 20 years.