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The Pope Criminalizes Leaks

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the keeping-secrets-secret dept.

Censorship 266

PolygamousRanchKid writes "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. But without the leaks, how would we find out about those crimes against children? Many of the new provisions were necessary to bring the city state's legal system up to date after the Holy See signed international treaties, such as the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. Others were necessary to comply with international norms to fight money-laundering, part of the Vatican's push toward financial transparency. One new crime stands out, though, as an obvious response to the leaks of papal documents last year that represented one of the gravest Vatican security breaches in recent times. Paolo Gabriele, the butler for then-Pope Benedict XVI, was tried and convicted by a Vatican court of stealing Benedict's personal papers and giving them to an Italian journalist, Gianluigi Nuzzi. Using the documents, Nuzzi published a blockbuster book on the petty turf wars, bureaucratic dysfunction and allegations of corruption and homosexual liaisons that afflict the highest levels of Catholic Church governance. Gabriele, who said he wanted to expose the 'evil and corruption' that plagued the Holy See, was convicted of aggravated theft and sentenced to 18 months in the Vatican's police barracks."

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So, how long (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44258953)

So, how long until the Church devolves into an organization that takes people into dank cells someplace and tortures them. Oh... umm... nevermind.

Re:So, how long (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44258979)

So, how long until the Church devolves into an organization that takes people into dank cells someplace and tortures them.

You want that sort of treatment for FREE?! Dream on buddy.

And what's your personal preference, monks or nuns?

Re:So, how long (5, Funny)

fellip_nectar (777092) | about a year ago | (#44259093)

Nobody expects that though...

Re:So, how long (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259725)

No one expect the Spanish Inquisition :)

Re:So, how long (2)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about a year ago | (#44259833)

The weird thing is the Spanish Inquisition always gave 30 days notice.

Apologies for spoiling the joke.

Re:So, how long (5, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44259493)

Interesting article. After 1483 the Spanish Inquisition was at the command of the King of Spain.

The Truth About the Spanish Inquisition [catholiceducation.org]

Because it was both professional and efficient, the Spanish Inquisition kept very good records.

These documents are a goldmine for modern historians who have plunged greedily into them. Thus far, the fruits of that research have made one thing abundantly clear – the myth of the Spanish Inquisition has nothing at all to do with the real thing. . . .

In 1483 Ferdinand appointed Tomás de Torquemada as inquistor-general for most of Spain. It was Torquemada's job to establish rules of evidence and procedure for the Inquisition as well as to set up branches in major cities. Sixtus confirmed the appointment, hoping that it would bring some order to the situation.

Unfortunately, the problem only snowballed. This was a direct result of the methods employed by the early Spanish Inquisition, which strayed significantly from Church standards. When the inquisitors arrived in a particular area, they would announce an Edict of Grace. This was a 30-day period in which secret Jews could voluntarily come forward, confess their sin, and do penance. This was also a time for others with information about Christians practicing Judaism in secret to make it known to the tribunal. Those found guilty after the 30 days elapsed could be burned at the stake.

For conversos, then, the arrival of the Inquisition certainly focused the mind. They generally had plenty of enemies, any one of whom might decide to bear false witness. Or perhaps their cultural practices were sufficient for condemnation? Who knew? Most conversos, therefore, either fled or lined up to confess. Those who did neither risked an inquiry in which any kind of hearsay or evidence, no matter how old or suspicious, was acceptable.

Opposition in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church to the Spanish Inquisition only increased. Many churchmen pointed out that it was contrary to all accepted practices for heretics to be burned without instruction in the Faith. If the conversos were guilty at all, it was merely of ignorance, not willful heresy. Numerous clergy at the highest levels complained to Ferdinand. Opposition to the Spanish Inquisition also continued in Rome. Sixtus's successor, Innocent VIII, wrote twice to the king asking for greater compassion, mercy, and leniency for the conversos – but to no avail. --- more [catholiceducation.org]

Re:So, how long (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259645)

If you punish ordinary opposing views in debate you aren't committed to free speech. Prove me wrong.

So if you dismiss someone's opposing views as not being 'ordinary' - and then punish them - you're in the clear, right?

Re:So, how long (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259657)

In your case, probably not. Why that is so is left as an exercise for the reader.

Re:So, how long (4, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44259793)

I think you should somehow establish what the "myth" is, since the article despite being pro-catholic, clearly establishes a persecution and burning documentedly 2000+ persons for nothing while majority of spaniards approved the action - yet right after that the article tries to pin the bad reputation of the inquisition on protestant propaganda - and that the church's scribes records are the true word on the matter and 100% factual, honest and leaving nothing out.

what a load of crock. what's the popular myth then if not spanish officials killing people based on hearsay? that torquemada ate still beating hearts??

Re:So, how long (5, Insightful)

swalve (1980968) | about a year ago | (#44259837)

I think the popular myth was that it was the Catholic church who was behind the killings, when, apparently, it was the Spanish government.

I wasn't expecting that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259653)

~lol~

"intellectual property" and "personal data" (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44258967)

Yer capitalists go for the IP thing.

Yer social democrats go for the Data Protection thing.

So, fact is, data leaks are going to be regulated.

And modern anti-money-laundering laws are mostly about making it hard to transact except via the mainstream corporate-welfare banks (just like a lot of the banking regulation designed to stop a repeat of 2007 in fact is about eliminating mutual societies, but everyone in the UK is sleepwalking through that too, because they're simple and dumb..).

And UNCRC is a joke, because countries kept in Third World status by a mixture of Western exploitation, local government corruption and inequitable trade regulations are going to guarantee that kids need to work to support their families.

without the leaks (4, Insightful)

Antiocheian (859870) | about a year ago | (#44258971)

"But without the leaks, how would we find out about those crimes against children?" -- these are not relevant. Unless you believe that someone would record child abuse on classified official documents.

Re:without the leaks (4, Insightful)

YukariHirai (2674609) | about a year ago | (#44259087)

Unless you believe that someone would record child abuse on classified official documents.

I wouldn't bet against it ever happening, but the more likely problem is people reporting abuse internally and the people who are supposed to be responsible for dealing with it doing nothing about it. That's something that leaking official documents could bring to light.

Re:without the leaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259349)

And this, if I recall correctly, is exactly what has happened to publicize certain individuals doing these things.

Re:without the leaks (2)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44259437)

You might be overlooking the existence of victim protection laws similar to this guideline:

GUIDELINES ON THE PROTECTION OF CHILD VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING [unicef.org]

2.6 Right to Confidentiality
All necessary measures shall be taken to protect the privacy and identity of child victims to ensure the safety and security of the victim and his or her family. The name, address and all other information that could lead to the identification of the child victim or his or her family members shall not be revealed to the public or media. Exceptions may be made in circumstances such as to facilitate the tracing of family members or otherwise secure the well-being and protection of the child, with the informed consent of the child. Information about a child victim that could endanger the child or the child’s family members shall not be disclosed in any case.20

Note what is in the fine article [usatoday.com] :

The bulk of the Vatican's penal code is based on the 1889 Italian code. Many of the new provisions were necessary to bring the city state's legal system up to date after the Holy See signed international treaties, such as the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Re:without the leaks (5, Informative)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#44259219)

Unless you believe that someone would record child abuse on classified official documents.

Actually, this is what did happen in the US. The church kept records of known child abusing priests, and did not report them to the police. The priests were simply moved to new locations, instead. This is why victims were later able to sue the church diocese, instead of just the priest. The church was guilty of hiding the crimes of the priests.

Re:without the leaks (2)

xelah (176252) | about a year ago | (#44259491)

Unless you believe that someone would record child abuse on classified official documents.

Actually, this is what did happen in the US. The church kept records of known child abusing priests, and did not report them to the police. The priests were simply moved to new locations, instead. This is why victims were later able to sue the church diocese, instead of just the priest. The church was guilty of hiding the crimes of the priests.

Hmm, are you sure it requires that? I thought it was fairly widespread common law thing that employers could be sued for things their employees did whilst doing their job, even if there was nothing the employer could have known or done about it. (Which is something it can occasionally be rather important to know, especially if you're an employer). Of course, hiding it might make the church guilty of a crime, too.

Presumably lawyers have lots of fun making up puns on vicarious liability, too. Except that vicar and vicarious really do seem to have the same root.

Re:without the leaks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259941)

Not just the US, but the UK, Germany and France have all had cases where catholic pedophiles have been condoned by the church and merely moved to new areas, allowing them to repeat their disgusting criminal behaviour against children. This is nothing new, it's being going on for decades in the media, and probably forever in the church itself.

Believing in a super space being should not exempt a sick individual from prosecution. The laws need to change, when the church moves a pedophile elsewhere, a person signs off on that knowing exactly why they're being moved, that person should be charged with organizing a child abuse ring at the very minimum.

Re: without the leaks (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259221)

The Catholic church documents EVERYTHING. One of the saddest stories I've ever read was one about a man who won a court case in California and was handed the internal records of that diocese that proved it after years of being told he was lying, AND that many others in the church knew that it was true, and then finding his younger brother's name on the list of molested children as well.

Re:without the leaks (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#44259299)

"Unless you believe that someone would record child abuse on classified official documents."

This is the catholic church we are talking about. They've done exactly that before.

Re:without the leaks (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259329)

"But without the leaks, how would we find out about those crimes against children?" -- these are not relevant. Unless you believe that someone would record child abuse on classified official documents.

They did do something about it. They covered it up. Officially. There was a whole department responsible for it. The former pope was in charge of it.

Re:without the leaks (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about a year ago | (#44259351)

It is relevant and has happened a number of times before. It might not be the only means of exposure but there have been a number of high profile cases regarding this sort of leak proving abuses have happened.

Re:without the leaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259561)

On what basis would you say that? Of course leaks will reveal crimes and corruption, and of course evidence may be documentet but not used because of making leaking a crime in itself, which is a crime against humanity. Beware of unfounded pseudoskepticism.

Re:without the leaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259851)

I now consider all catholics supporters of sexual offense against children. Your religion makes me sick.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44258981)

Try to do the right thing and you will be convicted of a crime.

Re:No Good Deed Goes Unpunished... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#44259419)

Other than the boy-bonking thing, I suspect they're trying to preemptively avoid the embarrassment of having someone ask them for political asylum after leaking some government's secrets.

Re: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259599)

They'd never give someone like Snowden asylum. He's too old for their particular tastes.

Re: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished... (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about a year ago | (#44260011)

You are operating under the assumption that the choices of priests are the result of their sexuality, not practicality. It's easier to convince children to keep quiet on the matter by virtue of being an authority (especially since going through puberty is often awkward and confusing), and males can't get pregnant, which tends to be significant evidence of wrongdoing.

Suspicious (5, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#44258991)

I wonder if there is something about the last Pope they don't want leaked. Could it be he stepped down to avoid a standing pope being shown to have committed some horrible crime against children?

Re:Suspicious (5, Insightful)

sg_oneill (159032) | about a year ago | (#44259007)

Its not even neccesarily the case for it to be the sort of thing that topples popes. It simply needs to be recorded that he was *aware* of specific allegations and refused to act.

In many ways you can abuse a child simply by refusing to intervene when a child is being abused. As adults we have a responsibility to *all* children. I truly believe that.

Re:Suspicious (5, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#44259237)

It simply needs to be recorded that he was *aware* of specific allegations and refused to act.

I'm too lazy to hunt down a citation but my understanding is that the previous pope was put in charge of the committee to handle all of the internal allegations of pedo-priestiality long before he was made pope. So, basically all of the foot-dragging and cover-ups on that front leading up to the public lawsuits is on his head. I don't think his involvement was a secret though.

FWIW, it seems like this new pope is actually pretty saintly - avoiding much of the ostentatiousness of the office, washing the feet of a poor muslim woman instead of a priest on Maundy Thursday (a triple break with tradition) and being conciliatory to atheists (immediately disclaimed by the church PR office but not by the pope himself). All of the good stuff he's been doing makes me wonder if there is more to the story of this change in the laws, I am inclined to give the guy the benefit of the doubt pending better reporting.

Re:Suspicious (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about a year ago | (#44259731)

which suggests one of 2 things will happen in the future:

a) he'll accidentally fall down the steps of the Vatican as his reforms start to really change things.
b) nothing, its all PR.

I hope the new Pope goes in there and cleans it all up, seems the Catholic church is pretty damn corrupt all the way through at the moment from paedophilia and coverups to financial fraud.

Re:Suspicious (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44259809)

which suggests one of 2 things will happen in the future:

a) he'll accidentally fall down the steps of the Vatican as his reforms start to really change things.
b) nothing, its all PR.

I hope the new Pope goes in there and cleans it all up, seems the Catholic church is pretty damn corrupt all the way through at the moment from paedophilia and coverups to financial fraud.

Or his enemies simply disappear and then appear naked and drugged somewhere in Sicily 5 months later! or dropped out of a plane into mediterranean.

Re:Suspicious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259743)

The citation necessary is available here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Case-Pope-Vatican-Accountability-Rights/dp/0241953847

Re:Suspicious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259967)

FWIW, it seems like this new pope is actually pretty saintly - avoiding much of the ostentatiousness of the office, washing the feet of a poor muslim woman instead of a priest on Maundy Thursday (a triple break with tradition) and being conciliatory to atheists (immediately disclaimed by the church PR office but not by the pope himself).

Exaggerated humbleness is its own form of ostentatiousness. You're not really humble if you are trying to out-humble the people around you. That's the opposite of being humble.

Re:Suspicious (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259303)

In many ways you can abuse a child simply by refusing to intervene when a child is being abused. As adults we have a responsibility to *all* children. I truly believe that.

And as humans I believe we have a responsibility to all humans.

But universal love is COMMUNISM, so cue the idiots harping on about how enabling suffering is necessary (as long as it's someone else who bears the brunt...).

Re:Suspicious (4, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year ago | (#44259319)

Yes, when you know that a child is being molested, and you cover up for the molester, there is a name for you... Accomplice.

Re:Suspicious (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259445)

Or, if you like, motherfucker. [youtube.com]

Re:Suspicious (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259347)

I truly believe that.

So you're saying that without making that explicit statement of you *truly believing* that, your previous statements would have no weight or meaning?

Why would you even write such a sentence? Its only purpose is to obsessively reassure yourself of a compulsive belief that you know is a mere belief and think has no weight or validity otherwise.
As your reader I have to tell you that that wasn't only unnecessary, but also brought up the suspicion that you know for a fact that you don't believe in that at all, *in the first place*.
I wouldn't have had that suspicion otherwise. You just fulfilled your own prophecy. Not a good strategy. (I know because I did that a lot in the past.)

Also, why do Americans always obsess so much about how "truly" they "believe" something? For the same reason of knowing (or thinking) that everybody knows how much it's are actually bullshit? Because, you know, if it were actually true, it would not matter if you *believed* in it. Like gravity. Unlike "god".

Re:Suspicious (1)

inasity_rules (1110095) | about a year ago | (#44259435)

Because Emphasis.

Re:Suspicious (-1, Flamebait)

meburke (736645) | about a year ago | (#44259057)

This ranks with one of the stupidest remarks ever posted to /.

What kind of mutt thinks that a statement of pure innuendo is legitimate discussion? Remember, innuendo is also a way of "bearing false witness" and against the Commandments.

One the other hand, the Vatican leaks that got published already showed a huge disparity between the calm, exterior image of the Papacy vs the actual political, tumultuous reality. That is probably something Benedict didn't want leaked.

Re:Suspicious (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259271)

"This ranks with one of the stupidest remarks ever posted to /."

What? Either your browser has a stupidity filter which is incredibly efficient, or your own remark is even more stupid then his.

Let's be honest, with the number of child abuse within the catholic church and the way the Vatican always tried to hide it, it's not hard to guess that the "tumultuous reality" is not the main reason for criminalizing leaking information.

Re:Suspicious (2)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#44259125)

I wonder if there is something about the last Pope they don't want leaked

he was probably a muslim extremist

Re:Suspicious (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259185)

Who knows, perhaps the Vatican should take a page from the White House playbook and use Syria or Middle Eastern countries to misdirect attention somewhere else so that no attention is paid to domestic scandals. Prosecuting whistleblowers and expanding state secrecy while having claimed to be more "transparent" is an opaqueness unfit for the American people.

Re:Suspicious (1)

g1nG3Rj0urNAl157 (2926785) | about a year ago | (#44259187)

I wonder if there is something about the last Pope they don't want leaked. Could it be he stepped down to avoid a standing pope being shown to have committed some horrible crime against children?

It's possible. Also likely that Benedict XIV was shown to be too dovish about going after the predator-priests. Cardinal Law of Boston was given a prominent place in the Vatican hierarchy after he hushed allegations of sexual abuse in his archdiocese (and shuttled the priest to another parish to protect him). The Vatican hierarchy acts no differently than any other politicians abusing authority and hiding their mistakes.

Re:Suspicious (1)

shentino (1139071) | about a year ago | (#44259205)

Since the Holy See is recognized as a nation at the UN it could be argued that the pope possesses sovereign and diplomatic immunity.

Re:Suspicious (4, Funny)

cffrost (885375) | about a year ago | (#44259467)

Since the Holy See is recognized as a nation at the UN it could be argued that the pope possesses sovereign and diplomatic immunity.

In other words, the sovereignty and diplomatic immunity of the Holy See may shield against prosecution for the Holy Feel.

Re:Suspicious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259665)

The UN does not recognise the Holy See as a nation. Vatican City is recognised as a nation (but is not a UN state). The Holy See has UN observer status, the same as Palestine or indeed CERN. CERN's director doesn't have sovereign immunity, and nor do the leadership of the PLO.

The Pope's sovereign immunity derives from his status as head of Vatican City, a sovereign state with a population of a few hundred people.

Re: Suspicious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259229)

Crimes against children barely stand out as bad compared to some of the historical popes... Running prostitution rings out of the Vatican, murdering popes to take his place, even one who was actually a woman.

Re: Suspicious (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259393)

Being a woman is comparable to running prostitution rings, murdering popes, and molesting children?...

Re:Suspicious (1, Troll)

Xest (935314) | about a year ago | (#44259331)

Well he was already complicit in working for the nazi regime and has told a number of lies about his association which is always going to raise suspicion that he was more than just a passive participant but this didn't seem to matter.

No, the rumour is that it's something far more serious to the Catholic Church than something as innocent as being a Nazi, the rumour is that he might have *gasp* been a closet gay *shock horror*. Of course, only in an organisation as backwards as the Vatican could such a harmless natural trait be a potential vector for major scandal.

Re:Suspicious (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44259371)

I wonder if there is something about the last Pope they don't want leaked. Could it be he stepped down to avoid a standing pope being shown to have committed some horrible crime against children?

There are several innocent reasons why this could be occurring now.

New bosses often like to put their stamp on an organization. The new Pope has been updating a lot of policies.
The old Pope wasn't well, so he probably had a limited work schedule. There has probably been a backlog of business to catch up on.
It is often easier to do multiple updates at once instead of piecemeal.

Then there is the information in the fine article [usatoday.com] :

The bulk of the Vatican's penal code is based on the 1889 Italian code. Many of the new provisions were necessary to bring the city state's legal system up to date after the Holy See signed international treaties, such as the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Others were necessary to comply with international norms to fight money-laundering, part of the Vatican's push toward financial transparency.

One new crime stands out, though, as an obvious response to the leaks of papal documents last year that represented one of the gravest Vatican security breaches in recent times.

Now I'm suspicious. Since this information is pretty close to the beginning of the article, I have to wonder if your post isn't just a clever way to libel not just a priest, but a Pope, without evidence and without being quite so obvious?

Re:Suspicious (2, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | about a year ago | (#44259563)

"I have to wonder if your post isn't just a clever way to libel not just a priest, but a Pope"

Why is libelling a Pope any more bad than libelling a priest or anyone else for that matter?

Re:Suspicious (1)

denzacar (181829) | about a year ago | (#44259843)

Why is libelling a Pope any more bad than libelling a priest or anyone else for that matter?

I am not sure, but I think that it has something to do with the size of the hats. The bigger the hat, the more serious the libel.
Which would also explain many a gunfight in the Wild West as stemming from libel aimed at people who wore big hats.

Re:Suspicious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259853)

"I have to wonder if your post isn't just a clever way to libel not just a priest, but a Pope"

yes, I read this as:

"I have to wonder if your post isn't just a clever way to libel not just a person with a job, but a person with a more senior job in the same organisation"

the fucker helped nazis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259871)

he helped nazis , allowed opis dei a cult to become part of the church ...thats all we know so far.....
ya
its the that this guy wanted this current one makes you wonder.
perhaps snowden and a new vatican guy can hang out and exchange stories

Dirty Laundry (1)

GeekWithAKnife (2717871) | about a year ago | (#44259043)


Like all rich and powerful institutions with a long history the Vatican has a list of dirty laundry it would rather not expose.
They may be trying to correct things going forward with a strong stance on some pain points but it is obvious that the Vatican as an organization does not feel comfortable to risk transparency.

I'm with the NSA on this one, what do they have to hide? surely men of the cloth would be much more noble, moral and ethical than the norm.

I believe this move will only further damage the Vatican's reputation. I also believe that the decision makers know this better than I do and they are actually choosing the lesser of two evils. The greater evil being if the public ever finds out what really happens behind closed doors.

While millions still flock to the guidance of a pope and Vatican I for one do not see this institution as any better than a powerful political entity.

If you really do believe in god, as described in Christianity why do you need the Vatican? *shrugs*

Re:Dirty Laundry (4, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about a year ago | (#44259195)

They may be trying to correct things going forward with a strong stance on some pain points but it is obvious that the Vatican as an organization does not feel comfortable to risk transparency.

To be fair, the media and our society are not interested in the big picture, or the full truth. The church could be as transparent as glass, and we'd just point a microscope at the dirt and make a giant fuss over it, and anyone who had the slightest conflict with the church would raise these items up at every opportunity.

We might say we want transparency and truth, but we'll collectively crucify (forgive the incidental allusion) anyone who gives it to us.

I don't want to be transparent in a world where the hint of suspicion of a crime can be front page news, and can destroy someones life, while the follow up story that one is completely innocent is a half inch on page E11 after the obituaries, if it makes the news at all, because someone elses live is busily being ruined on the front page.

No in that world, which sadly is this world, I'd rather it not get out at all. Because I know it won't be treated fairly or objectively, or with an eye to the whole story. Just sensationalist nonsense and then move on.

Only a fool would really want transparency.

surely men of the cloth would be much more noble, moral and ethical than the norm.

Because why?

If you really do believe in god, as described in Christianity why do you need the Vatican?

If you truly believe in science why do you need universities? What possible benefit could there be to gained from people who dedicate their lives to research and teaching? Surely one does not need teachers. Full knowledge springs into the minds of those who want it. Or not.

Just as your average layperson has pretty poor grasp of advanced physics they have an equally naive grasp of religion.

Sure we can argue that the Vatican's role has been corrupted perhaps, that it has been subverted by greed and politics, that its purpose is to collect and secure power, rather than enlighten followers with the teachings of their scriptures... sure we can have that conversation. And there'd be plenty of legitimacy to it.

But likewise we can argue that the university is more interested in securing grant money, generating prestige, and enticing ever more profitable foreign students than in imparting any knowlege or skills to the student body which it views largely as an inconvenient necessity in the pursuit of its aforementioned primary purposes.

The church, like the university may not be perfect, but its not as entirely ridiculous as you imply.

Re:Dirty Laundry (3, Insightful)

GeekWithAKnife (2717871) | about a year ago | (#44259297)


While I agree with many of the points you raise I'm not with you on the university analogy or transparency.

If one is to follow religion in it's rather black and white conception of how people should act then priests in general should practically be model citizens, free of sin and so on. Sure the media slanders and accuses but if you are that perfect image of integrity, honesty, caring and compassion would you not shine under scrutiny? -or is it that priests are just as humane as any average Joe and thus are not deserving of any special treatment, even by the church. Let alone the lavish protection and secrecy of the wrong doing of some priests, cardinals etc.

If I claim to live in a certain way, to serve the public, church etc I would welcome transparency. It's not me that vowed not to lie, be celibate and so on. Most people cannot live by those rules...but let those to claim so prove it. It is in the public's interest to have that insight. Even more so due to those few that have ruined the image of the Vatican or other institutions...

I don't believe the word of god needs to be "explained" - one might be lead to believe god wrote it wrong. Or the person that wrote it was not divinely inspired as to write it correctly.

There might be something terribly wrong with the perfection of god, which is supposedly beyond comprehension of man and thus contesting, if we need more people to explain or teach what is divinely written.

I believe the only reason people need to explain the word of god is because any literal interpretation would be impossible to live by in today's society...so my point was more than just the Vatican. The pope, Vatican, religion are relics of the past that try to stay relevant by applying a little spin to what is written in some holy book. It's sad that so many still empower such notions.

Re:Dirty Laundry (4, Insightful)

inasity_rules (1110095) | about a year ago | (#44259473)

Uh.. It isn't quite like that. The reason the bible needs explanation is quite simple and obvious, though christians and non christians alike miss this completely. It was written in a different context to the modern world. In order to understand the intent of the author, a scholar is required to have at least a partial understanding of the social, political and historic context of the work, not to mention the cultural and belief systems of the time. Paul of Tarsus did exactly the same thing, explaining/adapting the Jewish worldview to non-jewish christians.

Literal interpretations tend to thoroughly ignore the context above, and therefore miss the intent of the authors. Whether you believe religion is a relic of the past or not, you need to understand it's context to understand it. And that requires plenty of explanation to your average person.

Re:Dirty Laundry (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44259861)

most catholics believe in the teachings of the saints and not just in jesus christ and the god, the rules and things to study come from extra things beyond the basic beliefs and instructions.

you don't really need outside guidance to just being a believer and acting accordingly. it's remarkably simple. but most look for extra rules and clarifications, because those are fun and remove responsibility of thinking yourself, even if it could be fairly easily argued that exactly that was what jesus's character was against - "against money changers in the church? well fuck we're catholics let's absolve some sins for cash and sell candles for cash in the church - directly exchanging money for spiritual offerings! it's ok because we're true believers!". thing is, with that kind of activity going on you're going to need some pretty complex mental gymnastics to justify it in regards to the original text, that is why catholic church was shitting bricks about Luther, because it was pretty hard to justify a lot of the activity to people who had actually read the texts and understood what was in them and didn't personally have a stake in the profits...

Re:Dirty Laundry (1)

dmbasso (1052166) | about a year ago | (#44260023)

[...] And that requires plenty of explanation to your average person.

Too bad this 'explanation' usually comes from somebody's ass. You don't find in churches the people with the broad knowledge you've mentioned. That made me remember a recent survey which found atheists to have better biblical knowledge than most religious folks.

Re:Dirty Laundry (3, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about a year ago | (#44259571)

If one is to follow religion in it's rather black and white conception of how people should act

Very little is black and white. Morality is not simple.

then priests in general should practically be model citizens, free of sin and so on [...]

Um. No. Priests are not 'better'. They have merely dedicated their lives to religious teaching and study instead of farming or designing CPUs. They are not 'free from sin'.

It's not me that vowed not to lie

All followers of Christianity are presumably equally bound by the commandments, not just priests.

be celibate

That is a Catholic tradition and is in place as an essentially symbolic sacrifice to show their dedication to the calling; it doesn't make them more 'holy'. If they violate their vow of celibacy... then yes there should be consequences. But the point is that, yes, we should expect that some of them will fail to live up to their vow. They are just people.

They will make mistakes. And some of them will be criminals.

or is it that priests are just as humane as any average Joe

Would you argue that they are less human? Or more? I'd think they are exactly as human as the rest of us.

and thus are not deserving of any special treatment, even by the church

Define "special treatment". If you mean should their criminals be exposed and punished, then yes, absolutely, but I can understand why they would simultaneously seek to mitigate the harm to the church. If prominent executives at a major corporation were to be criminals, the corporation would surely wish to deal with it as discreetly as possible as well.

If I claim to live in a certain way, to serve the public, church etc

Forget the church a moment, and just consider public life in politics. Where your opponents take every thing you say, take it out of context, and twist it around, and then spend more money than you'll make in a lifetime telling everyone else that twisted out of context lie. Eventually, you too will start being gaurded about what you say in public, and will seek to keep large parts of your life private, not because there is anything wrong with what you say or do but simply because your opponents will have that much more to use against you.

"If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him."

I would welcome transparency.

And you would be hung. Go you!

I don't believe the word of god needs to be "explained" - one might be lead to believe god wrote it wrong. Or the person that wrote it was not divinely inspired as to write it correctly.

Now you are just being hopelessly naive. The texts of the bible are hundreds to thousands of years old. Languages have changed and died. Few today are familiar with the societies that they were written for, or the historical contexts.

Who wrote what, when, where and why they wrote it, who they were writing it for, who they were, why is it in the bible vs other things that are not. The meanings of various names. Right on down to why a particular english word chosen; and which of the english words several definitions aligns best with the original sense of the original text.

Its just plain silly to seriously argue that a guy with a standard modern American high school education is going to have even half a clue about half of what's going on in there.

I believe the only reason people need to explain the word of god is because any literal interpretation would be impossible to live by in today's society.

It would have been impossible to live by literally in any society. It -never- was all neatly wrapped up for a particular point in time.

Anyone who can read can read shakespeare, but its absurd to suggest that everyone who reads it gets as much from it. Cole's notes, and a good teacher can bring more from it than the average person could even imagine. And one could spend and some have spent their whole life on it. The Bible and most other religious texts are no different.

Note that I'm not at all religious, but I don't see any reason to presume that the Bible's teachings would somehow necessarily be transcendant and spring forth fully formed into any mind that could manage to phonetically sound out the words on its pages regardless of scribe, translation, or even printers errors. You could certainly argue for the potential that a God could have that be a property of his scripture... but I can't imagine why you would think it would be a "necessary property".

The pope, Vatican, religion are relics of the past that try to stay relevant by applying a little spin to what is written in some holy book. It's sad that so many still empower such notions.

For what its worth, I don't really disagree with this. Although I'm not sure that I'd characterize it as sad. Is it sad that there is a collective human wish to meet their creator and discover the meaning of life? I think it's pretty interesting, even hopeful, even as I think finding the 'answer' in any religious mythology is pretty misguided.

they were being non-transparent about raping kids (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259651)

you stupid fucking asshole, how the fuck could you conflate "media hysteria" and what was basically an organized enabling bureaucracy that protected pedophilia?

Re:Dirty Laundry (1)

shentino (1139071) | about a year ago | (#44259207)

...it IS a powerful political entity.

Coincidentally enough, in history it HAS been.

Re: Dirty Laundry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259279)

That's the exact same question hundreds of millions of non-Catholic Christians ask of the Catholic church. The very bible they preach out of tells us that when Jesus died, the temple shroud was ripped open which kept all but the holiest of priests outside of the alter of God, signaling that no priests were needed in post-Jesus religion*.

The continual assertion that the Pope and his Bishops are the only ones who can commune directly with God on our behalf is just one of many reasons non-Catholic Christians have serious problems with the Vatican and it's historical inhabitants.

*Judeo-Christian religion specifically.

Re: Dirty Laundry (1)

swalve (1980968) | about a year ago | (#44259865)

The continual assertion that the Pope and his Bishops are the only ones who can commune directly with God on our behalf is just one of many reasons non-Catholic Christians have serious problems with the Vatican and it's historical inhabitants.

I've never heard anyone from the Catholic Church make that claim.

Re:Dirty Laundry (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#44259401)

I believe this move will only further damage the Vatican's reputation.

Anyone who hasn't already kicked them to the curb, after what we know about endemic child molestation and the hierarchy's attempts to cover it up and limit liability, isn't going to be fazed in the least by this.

Achieving Immortality (0)

John Doe (2938705) | about a year ago | (#44259067)

Think of it from their point of view. If they don't boink kids then how will they become immortal? You people are selfish.

Re:Achieving Immortality (4, Funny)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44259383)

That's not achieving "immortality," that is achieving immorality. Big difference.

Precedent (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259077)

This sets a dangerous precedent. Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning, and Julius Rosenberg should watch out lest the United States decides to follow this lead. Imagine, they could even face jail time for their whistleblowing activities!

Casting stones (2, Interesting)

EzInKy (115248) | about a year ago | (#44259117)

The proverb goes "He who is without sin cast the first stone." The simple fact is there is not one adult person who follows a religion on this world who hasn't broken one of the tenants in which they profess to believe. Yet they are most often the very ones who condemn those who view their faith as superstitius nonesense the most vehemently. I do have to give this to the Catholic Church though, they have become much more maleable when confronted with facts that contradict their beliefs than the sects that spun of from it.

Re:Casting stones (4, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year ago | (#44259249)

And most adults would agree that being deceitful, mean, vindictive, or heartless is wrong, and yet everyone has done something of the kind.

The fact that you can't live up to moral perfection isn't an indication that your moral code is false; it's an indication that you're not perfect.

Re:Casting stones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259917)

You just partially echoed what the parent post said, but you don't seem to have grasped the point that that post has made. There's this rampant mentality that is common among the religious that says "we strive for perfection, for perfection brings us closer to the particular god that we worship, but we can never be perfect because we are human. But because we simply believe in this perfect entity, we're closer to its perfection, so damned be anyone else who doesn't follow our particular superstition. My god will forgive me for any wrongdoing I do in my life, but not the wrongdoings of a nonbeliever."

I'd say that people generally understand that they're not "perfect" and accept that they have various shortcomings, but the religious mindset offers many people a substitution for genuine perfection (which is a problematic concept and a standard that can never exist), so commonly, we see believers act as if they are above others.

commandment #14: embrace transparency (2)

epine (68316) | about a year ago | (#44259985)

And most adults would agree that being deceitful, mean, vindictive, or heartless is wrong, and yet everyone has done something of the kind.

Funny how you're using the language of original sin rather than treating lapses of personal conduct as lapses. Your verb "has done" makes transgression binary. I recently watched a video about violence among children which informed me that the rate of violent acts towards others peeks somewhere around the age of two, and declines from there pretty much for the rest of your life. The difference with teenage males is that one violent act a week can do significant harm (as opposed to multiple violent acts per hour by toddlers left to fend for themselves among their peers).

Human maturity is a long arc of succumbing to our base emotions less often. Not all adults are on the program: for some, lapses of conduct turn into overt strategies or become defining traits. On the one side you have most telemarketers, in the middle you have Jeff Gillooly, and on the far side Jimmy the Gent.

Transgressions that boil up from a potent brew of fatigue and frustration, or from the EMP of sexual instinct in abrupt transition are a different matter (9 Tesla emotional fields do not collapse gracefully, no matter what anyone has ever said about right and wrong) .

Except for the massive wealth commanded by the Vatican bank, and the peculiar tendency of so many people to trust their children to celibate men in frocks, this would be just another bunch of secretive guys no different than any other rat-hating Masonic cabal or KKK fraternity.

A Humanist Hexadecalogue: Improving the Ten Commandments [youtube.com]

He's a dreary narrator, but you have to give props for adopting base sixteen. His list is actually pretty good. I take issue with #14 "pursue education". That's not commandment material. I would roll that into #15 "pursue virtue" by enlarging it to "pursue virtue and self-development". I can handle the Buddhist influence up to a point.

I'd replace #14 with Embrace transparency: Do not embroil others in concealing your defects, misdeeds, and misdemeanours. Paging all men whose appellations end in Roman numerals.

Concerning #7, it's surprising he lumped plural marriage (when consensual, if such a thing exists) in with child marriage and forced marriage (rape with benefits).

Sam Harris- Improving the 10 Commandments [youtube.com]

"Consider the second commandment: Thou shall not erect any graven images. Is this really the second most important thing?" So we have this commandment, and nothing at all about transparency. I smell room for improvement.

Re:Casting stones (0)

Salafrance Underhill (2947653) | about a year ago | (#44259363)

The word is 'tenet'. Unless you're talking about someone who occupies land or property rented by a landlord.

Re:Casting stones (1)

pipatron (966506) | about a year ago | (#44259387)

Or telnet if you're an old nostalgic computer geek.

Some of us... (1)

Vintermann (400722) | about a year ago | (#44259165)

Some of us want to make money. Some of us want to get people universal health care. Some want to spread the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations. Some want our nations to have glory, and be important actors on the stage of the world. Some want international justice, some trade agreements. Some want nuns to drive old cars to set a good example.

We don't agree on all of this. But one thing we the powerful can agree on is that we can't have the public come in and mess up everything!

Now that is tech news!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259199)

Seriously, is htis technology related news???????

  or has slashdot become that desperate to post any type of news that can bring in viewers?

Re:Now that is tech news!!! (3, Funny)

Alain Williams (2972) | about a year ago | (#44259305)

In case you have not noticed there has recently been much discussion here about Edward Snowden, also Bradley Manning & others before. I will let you work out the links between these stories.

To put the punishments in perspective... (1)

stepdown (1352479) | about a year ago | (#44259217)

Anyone who reveals or receives confidential information or documentation risks six months to two years in prison and a €2,000 euro ($2,500) 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.

Never mind the treatment of Bradley Manning, these punishments are tame even when you compare them to the 50 years faced by Aaron Swartz.

There's a verse for that! (5, Insightful)

Gravis Zero (934156) | about a year ago | (#44259227)

Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. - John 3:20

just sayin'

If only they read their Bible... (3)

John Allsup (987) | about a year ago | (#44259373)

Let's not forget that the Gospel account clearly illustrates Jesus teaching _against_ formalised self-serving religious elites, and Jesus being executed for doing so.  Can anyone think of an appropriate long word beginning with H?

Re:If only they read their Bible... (1)

game kid (805301) | about a year ago | (#44259663)

I say we petition Jesus to get back down here and flip some tables [guardian.co.uk] , for this and other things.

Interest / usury (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about a year ago | (#44259379)

Maybe they want to hide that they were against usury (the term was later rebranded to "interest" to make it sound less evil) and they officially stated that "their opinion about it has not changed"?

Sexual Violence Laws (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259495)

I at least hope their sexual violence laws are gender neutral.
Too many jurisdictions around the world have laws that only consider a sexual offence to be "rape" if it's committed against a woman.

See the recent incident [ibtimes.com] of the under-age father here in New Zealand. From the article:

If the woman is proven guilty, the organization Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse urged legislators that it is about time to revise the country's prevailing rape statute. Under New Zealand law, rape only applies to men, with a maximum jail sentence of 20 years.

But for women found guilty of forcing a male to have sex, they are only slapped with a charge of sexual violation, the maximum sentence of which is 14 years.

The law around Australia is much the same
* sexually violate a female = sexual assault
* sexually violate a male = indecent assault (much lesser crime)

This story is repeated in the US, UK, Europe, etc.

Then again, this discrimination is against males and so it's not on any national agenda. Let's instead focus more on how we can help women.

YOU fAIL IT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259529)

Jesuits know their stuff (1)

Jason Lind (683680) | about a year ago | (#44259549)

The church is finally in good hands. Thank fucking God!

did Jesus ever give a crap about leaks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259627)

they had one last chance to become relative to the modern world. this pope had a chance, because he was supposedly concerned with the same things Jesus was, like some kind of social justice stuff, universal love, etc. However i dont remember Jesus giving a shit about leaks. In fact I'm pretty sure he advocated the speaking of truth to power.

With this ruling, this Pope has proved that they just do not get it, at all.

Enlighten up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259637)

Francis

totalitarian state (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#44259683)

The Vatican is a totalitarian state guilty of numerous human rights violations. I suppose it's a small improvement that instead of just judging and locking up people, they at least try to write down their policies as "laws".

Fact about the RCC (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259695)

The Pope is an ASSHOLE.
When he dies the next ASSHOLE comes.

Go fuck yourself Francine.

End of story.

That's why I've always said.. (1)

houbou (1097327) | about a year ago | (#44259747)

Religion = Organized Crime = Mafia..

Re:That's why I've always said.. (1)

dbarron (286) | about a year ago | (#44259869)

I agree totally..and I also want to use a quote from Mary Poppins, (the church believes) 'A spoonfull of sugar makes the medicine go down'.

Relevance ? (3, Informative)

vikingpower (768921) | about a year ago | (#44259847)

Who is the pope, in the world of 2013 ? A quaint old man with a funny hat and a funny stick in white clothes, wielding no power and a waning influence. As Inglehart put it already in 1997: the importance of religion dwindles with rising degrees of industrialization, and disappears with the transition from materialism to post-materialism. 'Nuff said.

Fuck Jesus then (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259855)

Fuck GOD, JESUS and the pope
time to send a legion of hackers at this bastardized scam and rip it a new asshole.

Pope Pedobear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44259875)

"convicted of aggravated theft and sentenced to 18 months in the Vatican's police barracks." Not a real law. Not a real trial. Not a real police force.Not a real country either.

Wow (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year ago | (#44259979)

I mean how out of touch is the Vatican today.

Lets get something clear.

I have no problems with people's individual beliefs. If you believe in God, Jesus, whatever, go right ahead. I will defend people's rights to believe in whatever religions they choose, and even claim that the fringe beliefs like scientology are part of what it means to live in a free society, so go right ahead. Feel free to assemble, but also feel free to discuss, argue, and debate the merits of your beliefs and not just assume someone else has all the answers for you.

HOWEVER

I think that the Catholic Church as an organization is completely out to lunch.

There is no point to defend anything the Pope or Vatican does these days just because you are Catholic and believe in God and Jesus.

You can believe in God, you DON'T have to believe in the corrupted state that is called the Vatican. The Vatican is not acting on behalf of any God these days, only their own self interests and preservation as an antiquated entity.

Once people separate their beliefs from an organization that attempts to form your opinions and beliefs, only then will there be any real reform.

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