Giovedì, 20 Settembre 2018

Pope wields new broom on Vatican laws


(By Denis Greenan).
Vatican City, July 11 - Pope Francis unveiled a
raft of new laws on Friday, from harsher penalties for crimes
inside the Vatican against children and those found guilty of
stealing confidential documents, to abolishing life imprisonment
and buffing up anti-money-laundering efforts.
The laws were announced in a papal decree known as a Motu
Proprio and were approved by the Pontifical Commission for the
State of Vatican City.
According to the decree, penalties will be ramped up in
September for crimes against minors, which include child
prostitution, sexual violence, sexual acts, producing child
pornography and keeping child pornography.
The penalties also apply to offices of the Roman Curia,
which is the executive body of the Vatican.
The Holy See also increased penalties for the unauthorized
removal of official documents from Vatican offices.
The move comes a year after Paolo Gabriele, Benedict XVI's
butler, was arrested for leaking confidential letters and
documents in the so-called VatiLeaks scandal.
Finally, the decree also says the Church will carry out
Benedict XVI's reforms begun in 2010 aimed at giving the Holy
See more means for preventing and fighting money laundering and
efforts to fund terrorism through the Vatican Bank, officially
known as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR).
The raft of laws addressed many issues - some painful,
others embarrassing - that marked the papacy of Benedict, who
stepped down in March over deteriorating health.
Most recently, Benedict's papacy was upset by the
VatiLeaks affair, which revealed long-suspected levels of
intrigue and power struggles inside the Curia, as well as
touching on shady dealings by IOR.
Francis has set up a team of cardinals to help him clean up
IOR and get it onto the list of countries whose credentials
against money laundering are impeccable.
IOR has a chequered past ranging from the mafia-linked
death of 'God's Banker' Roberto Calvi in 1982 to the recent
prosecution of two executives in a money-laundering probe and
last week's arrest of a cardinal who allegedly tried to fly 20
million euros of laundered cash back into Italy from
The Catholic Church is still reeling from the fallout of
the clerical abuse scandals that came to light under Benedict's
papacy after years of being hidden by some Church officials.
Francis has vowed to continue Benedict's eventually
energetic campaign and stamp out sexual abuse for good, even
promising to tackle a gay lobby in the Curia.
So Thursday's raft of laws against sex abuse were hailed by
the media as another step in the right direction.
One voice refusing to join the choir, however, was the
leading US clerical abuse protest group, which pooh-poohed
Francis's crackdown as a "tweak" which would in any case only
apply within the tiny confines of the Vatican City.
In a statement, David Clohessy, Director of SNAP, the
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said:
"For the Vatican's image, this is a successful move. For
children's safety, this is another setback.
"It's a setback because it will help foster the false
impression of reform and will lead to more complacency.
"In the real world, this changes virtually nothing. It's
precisely the kind of 'feel good' gesture that Vatican officials
have long specialized in: tweaking often-ignored and ineffective
internal church abuse guidelines to generate positive headlines
but nothing more.
"While the headlines may proclaim "Pope makes new church
rules about abuse," the fine print makes it clear that there's
just one rule, and it purportedly makes more child sexual
violence illegal on the 0.2 square miles of Vatican property,"
Clohessy said.

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