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VATICAN CITY— Pope Francis overhauled the laws that govern the Vatican City State on Thursday, criminalizing leaks of Vatican information and specifically listing sexual violence, prostitution, and possession of child pornography as crimes against children that can be punished by up to 12 years in prison.
The legislation covers clergy and lay people who live and work in Vatican City and is different from the canon law which covers the universal Catholic Church.
It was issued as the Vatican gears up for a grilling by a U.N. committee on its efforts to protect children under a key U.N. convention and prevent clerical sexual abuse. The Vatican signed the U.N. treaty in 1990 yet only now has it updated its legislation to reflect some of the treaty’s core provisions.