Pope Francis celebrates a worldwide Eucharistic adoration ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Sunday, June 2, 2013. Pope Francis is appealing to the "humanity" of kidnappers in Syria to release hostages. Francis urged prayers for "beloved Syria" as he spoke from his studio window overlooking St. Peter's Square on Sunday to a crowd below. He lamented that the war there has stricken a defenseless people aspiring to peace. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child is asking the Vatican to provide complete details about every sexual abuse allegation against the church since 1995.
The UN is asking for specific information on what the Vatican has done to address discrimination between boys and girls in Catholic schools and if it still labels children born out of wedlock as “illegitimate”; and what the Vatican has done about whistle blowers.
At the same time, the Vatican Thursday announced new laws covering child prostitution and child pornography in an effort to bring its laws up to date. Pope Francis also made it a crime to leak information from the Vatican.
These acts were already crimes in Rome and other cities and states, but now they are specifically outlawed within the Vatican city-state. Pope Francis has broadened the scope and is including wording from the Geneva Conventions.
SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, blasted the changes as “tiny tweaking.”
David Clohessy, the Director of SNAP, calls the changes only a “feel good gesture” and notes “there’s just one rule, and it purportedly makes more child sexual violence illegal on the 0.2 square miles of Vatican property.”
SNAP argues the Vatican “needs to follow long-established secular laws on abuse.”