The barcodes will be printed on cards they are required to keep with them so people can scan them.
The new regulation states that Catholic priests in France must wear wallet-sized ID cards with QR codes so members of the public can scan the barcode and learn whether they have had their clerical status revoked, as is the case with those who are now known sexual offenders.
The new barcodes are a part of a larger effort the country is making to crack down against offenders.
Members of the public who scan the QR codes with their phones will gain access to a new traffic light system. They will see a green, orange or red light depending on the status of the priest, said a recent report published by Unilaid.
The new ID card will be introduced to provide a priest’s information. That said, the primary function of the identification is to let the public know if that person is qualified to hear confession or lead a mass. It will also let the public know if that priest has had their clerical status revoked.
The red color presented by scanning the QR codes reveals that the priest’s status has been removed.
The barcode scan won’t specifically reveal what the priest did, nor will it state that any charges have been faced. It won’t say that the clerical status is no longer in place. Instead, the color is an indicator that the individual does not have the qualifications for tasks such as holding mass or hearing confessions.
The idea is to help the public to find out whether priests, deacons and even bishops have been a known risk to someone in the past and that they are not qualified for leading a mass.
On the other hand, an orange light could simply indicate that a recently ordained priest is not yet fully qualified to lead a mass. It does not suggest that any wrongdoing has occurred or that the individual should be considered dangerous or risky. Scanning QR codes and seeing a green light means that the priest is fully authorized for leading a Catholic mass in France.
Bishops have already been issued cards, while 18,000 deacons and priests will receive theirs before the close of 2023.