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Censorship

The Pope Criminalizes Leaks 266

Posted by samzenpus
from the keeping-secrets-secret dept.
PolygamousRanchKid writes "Pope Francis overhauled the laws that govern the Vatican City State on Thursday, criminalizing leaks of Vatican information and specifically listing sexual violence, prostitution and possession of child pornography as crimes against children that can be punished by up to 12 years in prison. But without the leaks, how would we find out about those crimes against children? Many of the new provisions were necessary to bring the city state's legal system up to date after the Holy See signed international treaties, such as the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. Others were necessary to comply with international norms to fight money-laundering, part of the Vatican's push toward financial transparency. One new crime stands out, though, as an obvious response to the leaks of papal documents last year that represented one of the gravest Vatican security breaches in recent times. Paolo Gabriele, the butler for then-Pope Benedict XVI, was tried and convicted by a Vatican court of stealing Benedict's personal papers and giving them to an Italian journalist, Gianluigi Nuzzi. Using the documents, Nuzzi published a blockbuster book on the petty turf wars, bureaucratic dysfunction and allegations of corruption and homosexual liaisons that afflict the highest levels of Catholic Church governance. Gabriele, who said he wanted to expose the 'evil and corruption' that plagued the Holy See, was convicted of aggravated theft and sentenced to 18 months in the Vatican's police barracks."
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The Pope Criminalizes Leaks

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 12, 2013 @03:15AM (#44258967)

    Yer capitalists go for the IP thing.

    Yer social democrats go for the Data Protection thing.

    So, fact is, data leaks are going to be regulated.

    And modern anti-money-laundering laws are mostly about making it hard to transact except via the mainstream corporate-welfare banks (just like a lot of the banking regulation designed to stop a repeat of 2007 in fact is about eliminating mutual societies, but everyone in the UK is sleepwalking through that too, because they're simple and dumb..).

    And UNCRC is a joke, because countries kept in Third World status by a mixture of Western exploitation, local government corruption and inequitable trade regulations are going to guarantee that kids need to work to support their families.

  • Suspicious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <.ten.3dlrow. .ta. .ojom.> on Friday July 12, 2013 @03:22AM (#44258991) Homepage

    I wonder if there is something about the last Pope they don't want leaked. Could it be he stepped down to avoid a standing pope being shown to have committed some horrible crime against children?

  • Casting stones (Score:3, Interesting)

    by EzInKy (115248) on Friday July 12, 2013 @03:47AM (#44259117)

    The proverb goes "He who is without sin cast the first stone." The simple fact is there is not one adult person who follows a religion on this world who hasn't broken one of the tenants in which they profess to believe. Yet they are most often the very ones who condemn those who view their faith as superstitius nonesense the most vehemently. I do have to give this to the Catholic Church though, they have become much more maleable when confronted with facts that contradict their beliefs than the sects that spun of from it.

  • Re:Suspicious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday July 12, 2013 @04:35AM (#44259237)

    It simply needs to be recorded that he was *aware* of specific allegations and refused to act.

    I'm too lazy to hunt down a citation but my understanding is that the previous pope was put in charge of the committee to handle all of the internal allegations of pedo-priestiality long before he was made pope. So, basically all of the foot-dragging and cover-ups on that front leading up to the public lawsuits is on his head. I don't think his involvement was a secret though.

    FWIW, it seems like this new pope is actually pretty saintly - avoiding much of the ostentatiousness of the office, washing the feet of a poor muslim woman instead of a priest on Maundy Thursday (a triple break with tradition) and being conciliatory to atheists (immediately disclaimed by the church PR office but not by the pope himself). All of the good stuff he's been doing makes me wonder if there is more to the story of this change in the laws, I am inclined to give the guy the benefit of the doubt pending better reporting.

  • Re:without the leaks (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 12, 2013 @04:57AM (#44259329)

    "But without the leaks, how would we find out about those crimes against children?" -- these are not relevant. Unless you believe that someone would record child abuse on classified official documents.

    They did do something about it. They covered it up. Officially. There was a whole department responsible for it. The former pope was in charge of it.

  • Sexual Violence Laws (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 12, 2013 @05:54AM (#44259495)

    I at least hope their sexual violence laws are gender neutral.
    Too many jurisdictions around the world have laws that only consider a sexual offence to be "rape" if it's committed against a woman.

    See the recent incident [ibtimes.com] of the under-age father here in New Zealand. From the article:

    If the woman is proven guilty, the organization Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse urged legislators that it is about time to revise the country's prevailing rape statute. Under New Zealand law, rape only applies to men, with a maximum jail sentence of 20 years.

    But for women found guilty of forcing a male to have sex, they are only slapped with a charge of sexual violation, the maximum sentence of which is 14 years.

    The law around Australia is much the same
    * sexually violate a female = sexual assault
    * sexually violate a male = indecent assault (much lesser crime)

    This story is repeated in the US, UK, Europe, etc.

    Then again, this discrimination is against males and so it's not on any national agenda. Let's instead focus more on how we can help women.

  • Re:So, how long (Score:5, Interesting)

    by khallow (566160) on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:58AM (#44260195)
    So why wasn't the King of Spain threatened with excommunication for this grievous abuse of power in the name of the Church? Why didn't the Church just nip that in the bud and refuse his requests for an Inquisition. Because his military support was necessary to keep Rome from being overrun by the Ottomans. They also had centuries to reverse that mistake and yet the Inquisition lingered until the mid-19th century.

    Just because the Spanish Inquisition was run by the King of Spain doesn't absolve the Roman Catholic Church of its role in creating, legitimizing, and maintaining that odious organization.

    Also, wouldn't you think that an actual Catholic education service would have better things to do than act as apologists for tyranny and terrible mistakes of the past?
  • by FreeUser (11483) on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:59AM (#44260199)

    Actually, this is what did happen in the US. The church kept records of known child abusing priests, and did not report them to the police. The priests were simply moved to new locations, instead. This is why victims were later able to sue the church diocese, instead of just the priest. The church was guilty of hiding the crimes of the priests.

    The same thing happened in the United Kingdom, Italy, Ireland, Germany, and a whole host of other countries. This is not a US problem, it's a world problem. The timing of the last pope stepping down was quite interesting...a week after an HBO documentary "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God" was released for general consumption, linking both the current Pope and his soon-to-be-sainted predecisor directly to the pedophile coverups and worse. In fact, Pope John-Paul II covered for his good pedophile friend up until he died and passed the mantle on to Ratzinger. I wonder if they'll make St. Pedo, I mean John-Paul II, the patron saint of children and knock the other guy aside?

    One thing is sure, mothers will still be carting their kids off to the churches, never mind the danger to their offspring. That, more than anything, illustrates the power of indoctrination and denial.

    http://www.hbo.com/#/schedule/detail/Mea+Maxima+Culpa%3A+Silence+in+the+House+of+God/562415 [hbo.com]

  • Re:So, how long (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdo ... org minus author> on Friday July 12, 2013 @09:21AM (#44260403)

    Kind of a tangent, but fwiw the Vatican no longer handles its own prosecutions or imprisonments. Under the Lateran Treaty of 1929 [aloha.net], the Vatican has autonomy in policing, but prosecution is handled by the Vatican handing the prisoner over to the Italian court system and requesting them to be prosecuted:

    At the request of the Holy See, or by its delegate who may be appointed in single cases or permanently, Italy shall provide within her for the punishment of offences committed within the Vatican City, save and except when the author of the offence shall have taken refuge in Italian territory, in which event he shall immediately be proceeded against according to the provisions of the Italian laws.

  • Re:Suspicious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dgatwood (11270) on Friday July 12, 2013 @09:30AM (#44260499) Journal

    Almost completely untrue at every level.

    The notion of a "personal relationship with God" is largely a post-Enlightenment concept, formed in the past three or four centuries. It is not "much of the point of Christianity", but rather, a modern protestant interpretation. The point of Christianity was defined many, many centuries before that, and to claim that Catholicism—the church from which all Christian denominations were ultimately derived—is not Christian is the height of absurdity, not to mention arrogance.

    Catholicism (note the spelling) is, in part, a belief that there is wisdom in the masses (lowercase, meaning the body of the church proper, not the celebration) that cannot be gleaned purely through individual contemplation. For this reason, we worship together as a community. This does not preclude the personal relationship that you speak of, but rather strengthens it.

    Veneration is not worship. The difference is subtle but crucial. No Catholic sees the pope as a god. Heck, the last one (Benedict) was downright unpopular among many Catholics. To even suggest that Catholics "worship themselves" or worship the pope is an appallingly inaccurate statement, even by Slashdot standards.

    Finally, it is not true that the Church has always been corrupt. It, like all organizations of that size, may never have been 100% free of corruption, but there's a big difference between pervasive corruption and a handful of rogue elements acting improperly. The recent scandals are horrifying precisely because coverups of such actions by corrupt individuals are not the usual situation.

  • by khallow (566160) on Friday July 12, 2013 @10:45AM (#44261263)

    The Kings of Spain were threatened with excommunication on multiple occasions.

    But were those threats conditioned on the ending of the Spanish Inquisition or mere power plays? You give an example of a power play and it ended with the next pope.

    Dubious justice but still better than Guantanamo...

    Yea right. Guantanamo is still a few centuries shy of the Spanish Inquisition and fundamentally, it's a POW camp. Indefinite imprisonment legally goes with that territory. The war which it's associated with is some nebulous affair that might drag on for generations or it might be ended in a legal sense in a few years. I think the Guantanamo Bay prison is unjust, but it's not at the level of the Spanish Inquisition.

    There's also the matter of number of prisoners and punishments meted out. Current number of prisoners in Guantanamo is less than two hundred. They have yet to execute any prisoners (though apparently the wheels are turning [cbsnews.com]) while the Spanish Inquisition executed people from its founding all the way through to 1826 [wikipedia.org].

  • Re:So, how long (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tnk1 (899206) on Friday July 12, 2013 @11:28AM (#44261697)

    That is an unfortunate result of politics, and does represent a failing of the Church. Because of the politics of having to play nice with the Spanish (who were mostly allies during the Reformation), the Spanish Government got to use the Inquisition as a tool, and the Church had to shut up about it.

    On the other hand, burning people for heresy, or witchcraft, was something everyone did at the time. Excommunication would have been unusual for what was common practice in the period. Our views on that practice are certainly better, but our judgement of how a reasonable person would view them in that time are anachronistic.

    Also, when you talk about the Church excommunicating people for less, we need to remember that the Catholic Church in its 2000 year history has had high and low points in its power. In the 13th Century, a pope could put England or France under Interdict and bring kings to their knees. In the 15th Century, after the start of the Reformation, not so much. The Church was no longer universal and needed kings as allies, and those allies demanded concessions.

    That said, many of the more baroque excesses attributed to the Inquisition were indeed mostly propaganda. The thing to consider is that the Inquisition itself was set up to at least bring some sort of due process to what might otherwise be settled by virulently anti-Jewish or anti-"heretic" mobs (frequently encouraged by the governments). To someone today, that seems like putting a safety placard on a torture device, but we need to remember that we didn't just spring all enlightened from the ground. The progress for human rights today springs from the same sources that would have tried to moderate religious violence though due process in a more brutal time. That this impulse was not sufficient to step in front of these abuses is unfortunate, but we've hardly stopped making compromises with certain ideals, even today.

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