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The Pope Criminalizes Leaks 266

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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  • Re:without the leaks (Score:5, Informative)

    by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @04:29AM (#44259219)

    Unless you believe that someone would record child abuse on classified official documents.

    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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 12, 2013 @04:30AM (#44259221)

    The Catholic church documents EVERYTHING. One of the saddest stories I've ever read was one about a man who won a court case in California and was handed the internal records of that diocese that proved it after years of being told he was lying, AND that many others in the church knew that it was true, and then finding his younger brother's name on the list of molested children as well.

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

    by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @05:53AM (#44259493)

    Interesting article. After 1483 the Spanish Inquisition was at the command of the King of Spain.

    The Truth About the Spanish Inquisition []

    Because it was both professional and efficient, the Spanish Inquisition kept very good records.

    These documents are a goldmine for modern historians who have plunged greedily into them. Thus far, the fruits of that research have made one thing abundantly clear – the myth of the Spanish Inquisition has nothing at all to do with the real thing. . . .

    In 1483 Ferdinand appointed Tomás de Torquemada as inquistor-general for most of Spain. It was Torquemada's job to establish rules of evidence and procedure for the Inquisition as well as to set up branches in major cities. Sixtus confirmed the appointment, hoping that it would bring some order to the situation.

    Unfortunately, the problem only snowballed. This was a direct result of the methods employed by the early Spanish Inquisition, which strayed significantly from Church standards. When the inquisitors arrived in a particular area, they would announce an Edict of Grace. This was a 30-day period in which secret Jews could voluntarily come forward, confess their sin, and do penance. This was also a time for others with information about Christians practicing Judaism in secret to make it known to the tribunal. Those found guilty after the 30 days elapsed could be burned at the stake.

    For conversos, then, the arrival of the Inquisition certainly focused the mind. They generally had plenty of enemies, any one of whom might decide to bear false witness. Or perhaps their cultural practices were sufficient for condemnation? Who knew? Most conversos, therefore, either fled or lined up to confess. Those who did neither risked an inquiry in which any kind of hearsay or evidence, no matter how old or suspicious, was acceptable.

    Opposition in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church to the Spanish Inquisition only increased. Many churchmen pointed out that it was contrary to all accepted practices for heretics to be burned without instruction in the Faith. If the conversos were guilty at all, it was merely of ignorance, not willful heresy. Numerous clergy at the highest levels complained to Ferdinand. Opposition to the Spanish Inquisition also continued in Rome. Sixtus's successor, Innocent VIII, wrote twice to the king asking for greater compassion, mercy, and leniency for the conversos – but to no avail. --- more []

  • Relevance ? (Score:4, Informative)

    by vikingpower ( 768921 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @07:56AM (#44259847) Homepage Journal
    Who is the pope, in the world of 2013 ? A quaint old man with a funny hat and a funny stick in white clothes, wielding no power and a waning influence. As Inglehart put it already in 1997: the importance of religion dwindles with rising degrees of industrialization, and disappears with the transition from materialism to post-materialism. 'Nuff said.
  • by buntsai ( 1195905 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @10:02AM (#44260851)
    The Kings of Spain were threatened with excommunication on multiple occasions.

    There was a huge tussle between the various catholic monarchs of Europe, including the English, French and Spanish Kings and the Holy Roman Emperor over who should decide things in the Catholic Church. There was a power grab at the time, and much of the particular viciousness of the Spanish Inquisition can be attributed to the pride, paranoia and desire for independence of the Spanish King.

    Parallels can perhaps be drawn with the USA where the scale of slaughter of the native populations also increased rapidly with independence.
    At one point, for example, even the Primate (head bishop) of Spain, the Archbishop of Toledo, fell out with Philip the II (King of Spain) and was arrested by the Spanish Inquisition in 1558. He was accused of heresy mainly on the basis of his book (Commentary on the Christian Catechism). However, this same book had been presented to and approved by the (counter-reformation / anti-Protestant) Council of Trent to which he had been the official Spanish envoy... The pope sent an ambassador ("nuncio extraordinary") with powers of excommunication for everyone involved and orders to physically extract the Archbishop. This didn't work. The king demanded a trial in Spain so the pope sent four bishops as the judges (each of whom later became popes themselves), but they were not accepted. The Spanish Inquisition were desperate for the bishop of Toledo to die, and he only survived because he was accompanied night and day by at least two members of his loyal staff (i.e different ones went at different times, on rotation).

    After 7 years, the pope managed to extricate him following more threats, this time to excommunicate the whole of Spain. His trial was reconvened in Rome with the pope expecting a quick exoneration. However, important papers kept getting lost in Spain. Eventually Philip outlasted the trial, with the suspicious death of Pope Paul IV. There is no proof as such that the Spaniards killed the pope only conjecture: i.e. letters have been found in the historical archives in Valladolid, Spain explaining the great dishonour the pope had brought upon the Spanish Inquisition and how convenient it would be for the pope to die, etc...

    Unfortunately for the Spanish Inquisition, the next pope lost patience and the Spanish Primate won his case.

    Dubious justice but still better than Guantanamo...
  • by Dcnjoe60 ( 682885 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @10:34AM (#44261165)

    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. []

    It's also a problem in public schools, boy scouts, universities and just about every church and institution. It's not specific to the catholic church. Pope John Paul II didn't cover for the priests, he actually instructed the US bishops to quit using canon law (church law) as a defense for their actions and to cooperate with the civil authorities.

    You also leave out of your synopsis that up until the late 1980s, pedophilia was considered curable and many of these priests that were transferred were done so after they had been pronounced cured. It turns out that they were situational abusers and only appeared safe until some stressor or trigger presented itself.

    None of this excuses what happened in the catholic church, but perpetuating the myth that it is just a catholic church issue is dangerous as the sexual abuse of minors is rampant and widespread in western culture.

  • Re:without the leaks (Score:2, Informative)

    by Dcnjoe60 ( 682885 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @10:38AM (#44261201)

    Unless you believe that someone would record child abuse on classified official documents.

    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.

    In the 1960s and 1970s when the majority of the cases occurred in the US, there were not mandatory reporting laws like there are now. Those laws came about because of the rampant cases of incest and sexual misconduct in the public schools that were occurring at the time. If there is one correlation that stands out, in the 1960s and 70s, a lot of kids were being sexually abused by a lot of people, not just priests.

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

    by khallow ( 566160 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @11:42AM (#44261807)
    The concept greatly predates the Magna Carta. For example, the first known code of laws, the Code of Hammurabi addresses abuse of power in the first paragraph [] of its preamble:

    When Anu the Sublime, King of the Anunaki, and Bel, the lord of Heaven and earth, who decreed the fate of the land, assigned to Marduk, the over-ruling son of Ea, God of righteousness, dominion over earthly man, and made him great among the Igigi, they called Babylon by his illustrious name, made it great on earth, and founded an everlasting kingdom in it, whose foundations are laid so solidly as those of heaven and earth; then Anu and Bel called by name me, Hammurabi, the exalted prince, who feared God, to bring about the rule of righteousness in the land, to destroy the wicked and the evil-doers; so that the strong should not harm the weak; so that I should rule over the black-headed people like Shamash, and enlighten the land, to further the well-being of mankind.

    Abuse of power is not a recent concept, but a fundamental concept driving the very formation of law to the point that it is one of the three justifications given in the very first known written system of law.

    If somehow we could hop in a time machine and go back to the first stories uttered by men, I think we would find that the idea of abuse of power is that old.

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