FRANCE (WTVO) — Catholic priests in France will be required to wear scannable QR codes to notify the public if they are sex offenders, under a new policy from the church.
According to France 24, the French Catholic Church will distribute digital ID cards with QR codes for 17,000 bishops, priests, and deacons.
The ID cards will show whether its carrier is fit to perform a sermon or hear confession, and identify whether or not they are facing charges of sexual abuse.
The cards can be worn on a lanyard or displayed upon request if the priest is outside the diocese, according to the French Bishop’s Conference, which made the announcement on May 10th.
The cards will also generate a color-coded response upon being scanned with a cellphone camera.
A green identification will indicate the priest is authorized to perform sacraments and is in good standing.
An orange response indicates the priest has limited powers, and is not yet qualified to lead Mass.
Red is reserved for someone who can no longer preach or has been stripped of clerical status, although the card will not display the reason why.
The effort is part of the church to be more “transparent,” France 24 reported.
“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,” said Francois Devaus, a former president of the church abuse survivors group La Parole Libérée.
“It’s quite an exceptional measure which, in my opinion, is one of the Catholic Church’s top three most stupid ideas,” he added.
The move comes after a 2021 report revealed that an estimated 330,000 children were victims of sexual abuse within the French Catholic Church over the past 70 years.
In November 2022, eleven bishops were accused of either sexual abuse or a cover-up within the French Catholic Church.