Religion

Pope mandates reporting of sex abuse claims for Vatican personnel and Holy See diplomats

Key Points
  • Pope Francis has issued sweeping new sex abuse legislation requiring the immediate reporting of abuse allegations to Vatican prosecutors.
  • The legislation is a policy shift aimed at being a model for the Catholic Church worldwide.
  • The mandatory reporting provision marks the first time the Vatican has put into law requirements for Catholic officials to report allegations of sex crimes to civil authorities or face fines and possible jail time.
Pope Francis
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Pope Francis has issued sweeping new sex abuse legislation for Vatican personnel and Holy See diplomats overseas, requiring the immediate reporting of abuse allegations to Vatican prosecutors, a policy shift aimed at being a model for the Catholic Church worldwide.

The mandatory reporting provision of the legislation published Friday marks the first time the Vatican has put into law requirements for Catholic officials to report allegations of sex crimes to civil authorities or face fines and possible jail time.

Francis also issued child protection guidelines for Vatican City State and its youth seminary, acting after the global sex abuse scandal exploded anew last year and The Associated Press reported that the headquarters of the Catholic Church had no policy to protect children from predator priests.

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Key Points
  • Former Vatican treasure Cardinal George Pell was sentenced to a six-year jail term by an Australian court on Wednesday for sexually abusing two choir boys in the 1990s.
  • Pell, 77, is the highest ranking Catholic priest worldwide to be convicted for child sex offences.
  • The judge set a non-parole period of three years and eight months. Pell will be registered as a sex offender for life, he said.