Vatican's New Laws Punish Information Leakers

By Michelle Garcia

Originally published on Advocate.com July 14 2013 1:46 PM ET

Pope Francis has overhauled the Vatican's policies to now criminalize leaks of Vatican information, making such leaks punishable by up to eight years in prison.

In addition to laws that would comply with the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as international standards to fight money-laundering, the Associated Press reports that one particular law was written to tamp down on information leakers.

The punishment would cover all lay people and clergy, who live in the Vatican. It was established in the wake of a scandal where Pope Benedict XVI's butler, Paolo Gabriele, was tried and convicted of stealing the former Pope's documents and leaking them to an Italian journalist. The information led to the publication of a book that examined the many dysfunctions of the Vatican, including gay affairs among Catholic church leaders.

According to the new law, anyone who reveals or receives confidential church information may face up to two years in prison and a fine of €2,000 ($2,500). The penalty can go up to eight years if the information compromises the "fundamental interests" of the Holy See, or the Vatican's diplomatic relations, according to the AP.

Updates to other Vatican laws would punish sexual assault and sexual acts with children with up to 12 years in prison.