Pope Francis has made changes to the way the Roman Catholic Church deals with cases of sexual abuses of minors, by abolishing the rule of "pontifical secrecy". Information in abuse cases should still be treated with "security, integrity and confidentiality", the Pope said.
New papal documents lift the obligation of silence on those who report abuse or say they have been victims. Church leaders called for the rule's abolition at a February Vatican summit. He also instructed Vatican officials to comply with civil laws, while maintaining confidentiality, and assist the civil judicial authorities in investigating such cases.
The Pope has also changed the Vatican's definition of child pornography, increasing the age of the subject from 14 or under to 18 or under. Pontifical secrecy was a rule of confidentiality which protected sensitive information regarding the governance of the Church, similar to the "classified" or "confidential" status used in companies or civil governments, the Catholic news agency says.