On Thursday, Francis issued a new law “criminalizing leaks of Vatican information.” A leader with nothing to hide might encourage his employees to speak the truth rather than threatening them with “six months to two years in prison and a 2,000 euro fine; the penalty goes up to eight years in prison if the material concerns the ‘fundamental interests’ of the Holy See or its diplomatic relations with other countries.”
So Pope Francis is telling us that he knows his international affairs are not devoted only to peace and justice. Nor does he expect his fellow prelates - who, according to the pope, have a direct mandate from God to be moral authorities – to cease their scandalous behavior. Nor does he anticipate cleaning out the Augean stable of Vatican finance as has been extensively reported. No. Pope Francis will rule in the Vatican City State where he and his officials are immune to, above and outside all laws save his own.
Other than the AP’s Nicole Winfield, the rest of the world press led Thursday’s reports with Pope Francis making the offense of child sex abuse part of the Vatican City State’s penal code. This was a quick response to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child which had sent the Holy See a "list of issues." Among them was a request for detailed information on its response to child sex abuse and "on all cases of child sexual abuse committed by members of the clergy, brothers and nuns or brought to the attention of the Holy See.”
Those headlines gave the usual misleading impression that Pope Francis is taking a firm stand against child sex abuse. Actually, the new criminal laws apply inside the Vatican City State and only to those clergy and religious who get their paychecks from the Vatican. It has nothing to do with dioceses and religious order in the rest of the world. Pope Francis continues – as did his predecessors – to give all prelates, no matter where they are located, immunity to aid and abet, cover up, lie and persecute the victims.