The media outlet "Daily Loud" published a tweet falsely reporting that France will force priests to wear QR codes as proof they are not sex offenders. The tweet generated viral attention.
"Catholic priests in France will be forced to wear scannable QR codes to signal whether they are sex offenders as part of a national crackdown on abuse," the tweet reads.
While the French bishops will not force clergy to wear QR codes, they will require every priest to present a scannable identification card before celebrating Mass. The identification card will include a QR code.
According to the press kit, the card's purpose is verifying that a priest is "ordained validly, that he is attached to a diocese or a community, and that he can celebrate the sacraments."
The press kit does not exclusively mention a crackdown on sexual abuse.
Here's an example of the card:
The priests in France always carry a "celebret," which documents their ability to validly celebrate the sacraments. This prevents "imposters" from posing as priests.
However, with the current framework, imposters can easily fake the paperwork.
The bishops said the new ID cards with a "secure national digital directory of updated priests and deacons and a system of QR codes" will prevent forged paperwork and provide greater security.
In addition to the press kit, the French bishops said in a May 10 announcement that the new cards are “intended to continue and intensify the fight against sexual violence within the Church.”
The French bishops will also require all deacons, and religious to carry a card.
Data collection for 13,000 French priests and 3,000 deacons is in progress. The bishops already use the cards.
French bishop Jean-Marc Eychenne displays the card in the video below:
"Each priest has a 'celebret,' a document which certifies that he has been ordained validly, that he is attached to a diocese or a community, and that he can celebrate the sacraments," the video's caption reads.
"In November 2021 and again in November 2022, the bishops voted to establish and deploy a national model of identification cards and celebret kept up to date for all bishops, priests (diocesan and religious) and deacons."
What do you think of the new celebret ID cards for French clergy?