Source: Catherine Hornby / Reuters
VATICAN CITY — 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.
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