Pope Francis tightens laws against child abuse at Vatican

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Pope Francis on Thursday tightened Catholic Church laws dealing with abuse against children, specifying that crimes against society’s youngest and most vulnerable would be outlawed on Vatican grounds, too.

The church already deems it criminal behavior to sexually or physically abuse children. But the pope specifically expanded those protections to Vatican grounds, making it clear — in case it wasn’t already — that children can’t be abused anywhere.

The pope’s new provision also cites child prostitution and the creation or possession of child pornography, CNN reported. And it goes even “broader,” Radio Vatican reported, in adding to the Vatican’s legal system several international laws that speak to war crimes, racial discrimination and the imposition of punishments by the Vatican.

The pope decreed the new laws as a “moto proprio” — the measure was his, and his alone.

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