Pope John Paul II issues a "motu proprio" entitled Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela. With this, the pope assigns exclusive canonical authority to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, currently headed by Cardinal Josef Ratzinger (the future Pope Benedict XVI), over cases where a priest is accused of sexually abusing a minor.
Bishops are required to report any credible cases of sexual abuse to the congregation which would decide whether the allegations should be handled in Rome or left to a local tribunal. Strict secrecy over all allegations and proceedings is required — no reports are to be made to any police or other civil authorities. This document will not be made public until December of this year.