News & Opinion | March 29, 2019 11:15 am

Pope Enacts New Legislation Requiring Vatican Officials To Report Abuse

Pope Francis issued new requirements for both Vatican officials and diplomats serving the Holy See abroad.

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The Catholic Church's pedophile priest problem feels endless. (Massimo Valicchia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
NurPhoto via Getty Images

Pope Francis issued new requirements requiring both Vatican officials and diplomats serving the Holy See abroad to report suspected sexual abuse to Vatican judicial authorities. If they do not report, they risk fines up to 5,000 euros or six months jail time, according to The Washington Post. 

This is the most forceful Vatican abuse-related measure to date focused on the city state’s officials and diplomatic corps. In a letter, Pope Francis said that there is a duty to report abuses “to the competent authorities” and to cooperate with them “in the activities of prevention,” The Post reports.

The reporting provision is one of many components of new legislation released Friday, all aimed at the prevention and handling of sexual abuse cases against minors inside the walls of the Vatican. It is the most far-reaching aspect of the legislation. The Catholic Church, embroiled in global abuse cases, has been criticized for not having up-to-date policies to protect children in its own backyard.

“The church must always be ever increasingly a safe home for children and vulnerable persons,” Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said in a statement, according to The Post.