Pope changed the rules to hide information related to sexual harassment

Pope changed the rules

The Pope has declared that the rule of 'pontifical secrecy' i.e. 'secrecy of Pope related matters' will not be applicable in cases involving sexual exploitation of minors. 

The Church says that this step has been taken in order to bring transparency in such cases.

Earlier, sexual abuse cases in the church were often veiled. The Church said that this step was taken to protect the privacy of the victims and the reputation of the accused.

But according to the new documents related to the pope released on Tuesday, now those who complain about harassment with them or say that they have been victims will not be banned.

At the Vatican Summit in February, the religious leaders of the Church demanded the abolition of the rules related to it.

He said that abolishing these rules will bring transparency in such cases, as well as police and judicial institutions will be able to get information from the church, which will make their work easier.

The Pope said in his proclamation that "security, truth and confidentiality" should still be taken care of in the matter of information related to harassment.

He instructed the Vatican officials to follow the law and cooperate with the judicial institutions in the investigation of such cases.

Definition of child porn also changed

The Pope also changed the 'definition of the Vatican' of child pornography. He has increased the age of the person appearing in the subject from 14 to 18 years. That is, if the person in the porn video is 18 or younger, then it will be considered as child pornography.

Charles Shikluna is the Archbishop of Malta and also the Vatican's most experienced sexual harassment investigator. He described the move as important and said that "it will reduce the hurdles in the way of investigation".

He told Vatican News that the question of transparency has now been implemented at the highest level.

There was a stir in the church when there were thousands of reports of sexual harassment by clergy around the world and senior priests were accused of hiding such cases.

After this, pressure increased on Pope Francis to find a solution to this crisis.


What is 'pontifical secrecy'

Rules related to 'pontifical secrecy' are designed to protect sensitive information such as interactions between the Vatican and the Pope's embassies. This is a process similar to the way countries keep diplomatic cables of their embassies.

The rules of confidentiality of Pope related matters were also applied to judicial matters for years so as to hide the privacy of the victims and the identity of the accused.

Critics say that the pontifical secret has been misused by some church officials to avoid cooperating with police in cases of exploitation.

Archbishop Shikluna said, "There may have been many times citing pontifical secrecy as saying that they cannot share or be authorized to share information with governmental organizations or victims. But now we can say that a pontifical Will not be able to excuse the secret. "

After the release of the new guidelines, the offices that will help in the functioning of the Pope will no longer hide information on the basis of the pontifical secret regarding sexual abuse of children and crimes related to child porn.

Witnesses, accused and complainants will also not be compelled to remain silent about the cases.

On his 83rd birthday, Pope Francis announced that the church would provide information about sexual harassment cases, harassment of minors and child pornography to the administration, in view of the long-standing demand of the victims.

Earlier the church was accused of hiding complaints of harassment citing privacy rules. If someone violated the 'pontifical secrecy', then as a result the church would break all ties with him. That is why people were hesitant to tell anything to government institutions. But now these restrictions have been lifted.