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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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  • without the leaks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Antiocheian ( 859870 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @03:17AM (#44258971) Journal

    "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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 12, 2013 @03:19AM (#44258981)

    Try to do the right thing and you will be convicted of a crime.

  • Re:Suspicious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sg_oneill ( 159032 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @03:26AM (#44259007)

    Its not even neccesarily the case for it to be the sort of thing that topples popes. It simply needs to be recorded that he was *aware* of specific allegations and refused to act.

    In many ways you can abuse a child simply by refusing to intervene when a child is being abused. As adults we have a responsibility to *all* children. I truly believe that.

  • by YukariHirai ( 2674609 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @03:42AM (#44259087)

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

    I wouldn't bet against it ever happening, but the more likely problem is people reporting abuse internally and the people who are supposed to be responsible for dealing with it doing nothing about it. That's something that leaking official documents could bring to light.

  • Re:Dirty Laundry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @04:17AM (#44259195)

    They may be trying to correct things going forward with a strong stance on some pain points but it is obvious that the Vatican as an organization does not feel comfortable to risk transparency.

    To be fair, the media and our society are not interested in the big picture, or the full truth. The church could be as transparent as glass, and we'd just point a microscope at the dirt and make a giant fuss over it, and anyone who had the slightest conflict with the church would raise these items up at every opportunity.

    We might say we want transparency and truth, but we'll collectively crucify (forgive the incidental allusion) anyone who gives it to us.

    I don't want to be transparent in a world where the hint of suspicion of a crime can be front page news, and can destroy someones life, while the follow up story that one is completely innocent is a half inch on page E11 after the obituaries, if it makes the news at all, because someone elses live is busily being ruined on the front page.

    No in that world, which sadly is this world, I'd rather it not get out at all. Because I know it won't be treated fairly or objectively, or with an eye to the whole story. Just sensationalist nonsense and then move on.

    Only a fool would really want transparency.

    surely men of the cloth would be much more noble, moral and ethical than the norm.

    Because why?

    If you really do believe in god, as described in Christianity why do you need the Vatican?

    If you truly believe in science why do you need universities? What possible benefit could there be to gained from people who dedicate their lives to research and teaching? Surely one does not need teachers. Full knowledge springs into the minds of those who want it. Or not.

    Just as your average layperson has pretty poor grasp of advanced physics they have an equally naive grasp of religion.

    Sure we can argue that the Vatican's role has been corrupted perhaps, that it has been subverted by greed and politics, that its purpose is to collect and secure power, rather than enlighten followers with the teachings of their scriptures... sure we can have that conversation. And there'd be plenty of legitimacy to it.

    But likewise we can argue that the university is more interested in securing grant money, generating prestige, and enticing ever more profitable foreign students than in imparting any knowlege or skills to the student body which it views largely as an inconvenient necessity in the pursuit of its aforementioned primary purposes.

    The church, like the university may not be perfect, but its not as entirely ridiculous as you imply.

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @04:31AM (#44259227)

    Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. - John 3:20

    just sayin'

  • Re:Casting stones (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @04:38AM (#44259249)

    And most adults would agree that being deceitful, mean, vindictive, or heartless is wrong, and yet everyone has done something of the kind.

    The fact that you can't live up to moral perfection isn't an indication that your moral code is false; it's an indication that you're not perfect.

  • Re:Suspicious (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 12, 2013 @04:43AM (#44259271)

    "This ranks with one of the stupidest remarks ever posted to /."

    What? Either your browser has a stupidity filter which is incredibly efficient, or your own remark is even more stupid then his.

    Let's be honest, with the number of child abuse within the catholic church and the way the Vatican always tried to hide it, it's not hard to guess that the "tumultuous reality" is not the main reason for criminalizing leaking information.

  • Re:Dirty Laundry (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GeekWithAKnife ( 2717871 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @04:47AM (#44259297)

    While I agree with many of the points you raise I'm not with you on the university analogy or transparency.

    If one is to follow religion in it's rather black and white conception of how people should act then priests in general should practically be model citizens, free of sin and so on. Sure the media slanders and accuses but if you are that perfect image of integrity, honesty, caring and compassion would you not shine under scrutiny? -or is it that priests are just as humane as any average Joe and thus are not deserving of any special treatment, even by the church. Let alone the lavish protection and secrecy of the wrong doing of some priests, cardinals etc.

    If I claim to live in a certain way, to serve the public, church etc I would welcome transparency. It's not me that vowed not to lie, be celibate and so on. Most people cannot live by those rules...but let those to claim so prove it. It is in the public's interest to have that insight. Even more so due to those few that have ruined the image of the Vatican or other institutions...

    I don't believe the word of god needs to be "explained" - one might be lead to believe god wrote it wrong. Or the person that wrote it was not divinely inspired as to write it correctly.

    There might be something terribly wrong with the perfection of god, which is supposedly beyond comprehension of man and thus contesting, if we need more people to explain or teach what is divinely written.

    I believe the only reason people need to explain the word of god is because any literal interpretation would be impossible to live by in today's society...so my point was more than just the Vatican. The pope, Vatican, religion are relics of the past that try to stay relevant by applying a little spin to what is written in some holy book. It's sad that so many still empower such notions.
  • Re:Suspicious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @04:55AM (#44259319)
    Yes, when you know that a child is being molested, and you cover up for the molester, there is a name for you... Accomplice.
  • Re:Dirty Laundry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by inasity_rules ( 1110095 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @05:47AM (#44259473) Journal

    Uh.. It isn't quite like that. The reason the bible needs explanation is quite simple and obvious, though christians and non christians alike miss this completely. It was written in a different context to the modern world. In order to understand the intent of the author, a scholar is required to have at least a partial understanding of the social, political and historic context of the work, not to mention the cultural and belief systems of the time. Paul of Tarsus did exactly the same thing, explaining/adapting the Jewish worldview to non-jewish christians.

    Literal interpretations tend to thoroughly ignore the context above, and therefore miss the intent of the authors. Whether you believe religion is a relic of the past or not, you need to understand it's context to understand it. And that requires plenty of explanation to your average person.

  • Re:Suspicious (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xest ( 935314 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @06:17AM (#44259563)

    "I have to wonder if your post isn't just a clever way to libel not just a priest, but a Pope"

    Why is libelling a Pope any more bad than libelling a priest or anyone else for that matter?

  • Re:Dirty Laundry (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @06:19AM (#44259571)

    If one is to follow religion in it's rather black and white conception of how people should act

    Very little is black and white. Morality is not simple.

    then priests in general should practically be model citizens, free of sin and so on [...]

    Um. No. Priests are not 'better'. They have merely dedicated their lives to religious teaching and study instead of farming or designing CPUs. They are not 'free from sin'.

    It's not me that vowed not to lie

    All followers of Christianity are presumably equally bound by the commandments, not just priests.

    be celibate

    That is a Catholic tradition and is in place as an essentially symbolic sacrifice to show their dedication to the calling; it doesn't make them more 'holy'. If they violate their vow of celibacy... then yes there should be consequences. But the point is that, yes, we should expect that some of them will fail to live up to their vow. They are just people.

    They will make mistakes. And some of them will be criminals.

    or is it that priests are just as humane as any average Joe

    Would you argue that they are less human? Or more? I'd think they are exactly as human as the rest of us.

    and thus are not deserving of any special treatment, even by the church

    Define "special treatment". If you mean should their criminals be exposed and punished, then yes, absolutely, but I can understand why they would simultaneously seek to mitigate the harm to the church. If prominent executives at a major corporation were to be criminals, the corporation would surely wish to deal with it as discreetly as possible as well.

    If I claim to live in a certain way, to serve the public, church etc

    Forget the church a moment, and just consider public life in politics. Where your opponents take every thing you say, take it out of context, and twist it around, and then spend more money than you'll make in a lifetime telling everyone else that twisted out of context lie. Eventually, you too will start being gaurded about what you say in public, and will seek to keep large parts of your life private, not because there is anything wrong with what you say or do but simply because your opponents will have that much more to use against you.

    "If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him."

    I would welcome transparency.

    And you would be hung. Go you!

    I don't believe the word of god needs to be "explained" - one might be lead to believe god wrote it wrong. Or the person that wrote it was not divinely inspired as to write it correctly.

    Now you are just being hopelessly naive. The texts of the bible are hundreds to thousands of years old. Languages have changed and died. Few today are familiar with the societies that they were written for, or the historical contexts.

    Who wrote what, when, where and why they wrote it, who they were writing it for, who they were, why is it in the bible vs other things that are not. The meanings of various names. Right on down to why a particular english word chosen; and which of the english words several definitions aligns best with the original sense of the original text.

    Its just plain silly to seriously argue that a guy with a standard modern American high school education is going to have even half a clue about half of what's going on in there.

    I believe the only reason people need to explain the word of god is because any literal interpretation would be impossible to live by in today's society.

    It would have been impossible to live by literally in any society. It -never- was all neatly wrapped up for a particular point in time.

    Anyone who can read can read shakespeare, but its absurd to suggest that everyone who reads it gets as much from it. Cole's notes, and a good teacher can bring more from it than the average person could even imagine. And one could spend and some have

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

    by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @07:39AM (#44259793) Homepage Journal

    I think you should somehow establish what the "myth" is, since the article despite being pro-catholic, clearly establishes a persecution and burning documentedly 2000+ persons for nothing while majority of spaniards approved the action - yet right after that the article tries to pin the bad reputation of the inquisition on protestant propaganda - and that the church's scribes records are the true word on the matter and 100% factual, honest and leaving nothing out.

    what a load of crock. what's the popular myth then if not spanish officials killing people based on hearsay? that torquemada ate still beating hearts??

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

    by swalve ( 1980968 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @07:53AM (#44259837)
    I think the popular myth was that it was the Catholic church who was behind the killings, when, apparently, it was the Spanish government.
  • Re:Relevance ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by umafuckit ( 2980809 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @09:00AM (#44260217)
    In theory you're right, but in practice the man in the funny hat has a lot of power. His stance on sexual abstinence and contraception, to name but one thing, is taken seriously by millions of people and causes untold harm. There are millions of Catholics around the world, and the Pope's opinions politics influence them via their local Church. Dismissing him because it's 2013 is, unfortunately, not going to work.
  • Re:Suspicious (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BForrester ( 946915 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @09:13AM (#44260343)

    When you initiate an argument with "everyone knows that..." or by redefining the position of the group that you want to attack, it's usually a signal to the reader that what is about to follow is rhetoric and/or horseshit.

    Now try that again, maybe even give an authoritative reference or two, and you'll notice that your response will sound significantly less like you've been brainwashed.

  • by Desler ( 1608317 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @10:01AM (#44260833)

    There's a huge difference between protecting the identity and privacy of a child and willfully lying and hiding information about your priests diddling said children. Oh and when those abused children who did speak out later in life they were repeatedly called liars by the church hierarchy until being forced to admit otherwise.

  • Re:Suspicious (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bucc5062 ( 856482 ) <bucc5062NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday July 12, 2013 @10:07AM (#44260901)

    Really? Your retort is just a variation of "yo Mama". This is /. for crying out loud, use some part of your brain cell to come back with a more sardonic or rapier response. "Go kill yourself" is just...childish, like your initial comment. You went beyond hyperbole (it has always been corrupt) as if each and every monk, priest, and nun are in on the crime. No fan of the Church here, but it has done good works over the centuries, done by good caring people so how about canning the over generalizations a bit.

    Not to nitpick, but even Christianity has somewhat of a "middleman" in the form of Jesus such that "Christians" feel the only way to God is through Christ. Sure, the Holy Trinity can cover up that loop hole, but many of the major beliefs (even Islam) have a middle man, living or dead that represent the way to God. Christianity talks about a personal relationship with Christ (first, not God the Father), a slight but clear difference in semantics. The Church does not declare the Pope God, but God's representative on Earth. Big difference. Catholics do not pray to the Pope, they pray to God [wikipedia.org], or to God and the supporting characters [catholicity.com] and while they do have this quirky notion that only a priest (which by extension includes the Pope) can give absolution and entrance to Heaven, many Christians [wikipedia.org] feel that if you do not accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you will burn in hell. Corrupt? How about James Bakker [wikipedia.org] or these types of churches [guardian.co.uk] that use Christianity as a drug and they are the pushers. The Catholic Church is not the only Religion with its dark side.

    You opened the door to comment with the "everyone knows" and irrelevant statements like "the pope is not in the bible" without really making a valid point. So "Go kill yourself", instead of adding to your machismo, only diluted your initial weak thoughts. Perhaps you'd like to try again.

  • by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @11:17AM (#44261577) Journal
    You want an edit function? Slashcode is open source. Write one, or have one written.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell