His Holiness Pope Francis Thursday morning issued new rules to enhance the accountability of all bishops in preventing abuse and cover-up.

The motu proprio establishes universal standards and procedures for reporting sexual abuse by clergy and religious groups, investigating claims, and protecting victims and whistleblowers.

In responding to this mandate, the Most Reverend Archbishop Robert J. Carlson says he will strengthen the process for reporting within the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the state of Missouri, and to use all available resources including outside investigators to respond to allegations of abuse.

“The protection of the innocent and the vulnerable in the Archdiocese of St. Louis is of the utmost importance,” he said. “The new processes that we put in place will work to prevent all abuse and will ensure transparency and accountability at all levels in responding to reports of abuse.”

The Archdiocese of St. Louis continues to work with outside investigators to develop a list of abusive clergy which will be released after the investigative team and lay review board completes its work.