Friday, 12 July 2013
Pope Francis Set to Target Sexual Violence Against Children in The Vatican
According to a report on NBCNews, Pope Francis, acting to end years of scandals damaging the Catholic Church, overhauled Vatican law on Thursday to specify sexual violence against children as a crime and impose tough penalties for staff who leak confidential Vatican information. Issuing a “Motu Proprio,” a decree of his own initiative, Francis also said he would renew the Holy See’s commitment to international conventions against organized crime and terrorism.
Under the changes, sexual violence and sexual acts with children, child prostitution and child pornography are cited in a broader definition of crimes against minors and punishable by up to 12 years in prison, a Vatican document showed. Francis, who succeeded Pope Benedict in March, inherited a Church struggling to restore its credibility after a spate of scandals including the molestation of children by priests in a number of countries and an investigation into suspected money-laundering at the Vatican’s bank.
In June Francis set up a special commission of inquiry to reform the bank, seeking to get to grips with an institution that has embarrassed the church. The group held its first meeting on Thursday with the pope attending, according to the Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano.