Westhampton, MA – September 19, 2009
Richard Ammon – GlobalGayz.com
Ever wonder where the sexually abusive Catholic priests might have gotten the idea that sexual activity with children is acceptable–even legal?
Look at this:
There is an equal age of consent set at 12 years of age (Article 331 (1) of the Vatican laws). When there is a relationship of dependence (like teacher/priest/student, etc.) the age of consent is 15 years (Article 331 (2)). (See source) The age of consent in the Codice Penale in Italy was changed in 1930 to 14 years, but this had no effect on Vatican City.
I happened across this information while researching gay rights in tiny countries around the world, such as San Marino. Monaco, Malta, Tonga, Kiribati and others.
Separately, other inquirers have asked what is the lowest age of consent in the world. Responses are South Korea 13, Japan 13 (for males), Mexico 12 (for males), Spain 13, Angola 12, Burkina Faso 13, Cyprus 13, Nigeria 13, Philippines 12 (for males). Tunisia is the highest at 20.
Is it just a coincidence that of the three lowest consenting-age countries (Mexico, Philippines, Angola) the first two are predominantly Roman Catholic countries with Angola having a major Catholic presence of about 40% (46.8% of Angolans practice indigenous beliefs)
At first I thought this Vatican age of consent was a misprint, but the same number came up in other references including lively forums about this issue: goldismoney.info; godlikeproductions.com; catholic.org.
But no layman seems to know actually what the canonical laws say on the matter of age of consent.
Trying to find out what the reference above (in bold) means by Article 113 (1) is not easy to research and one quickly bogs down in a quagmire of ecclesio-legalistic wordage such as, “Ecclesiastical Laws
Can. 7: A law comes into being when it is promulgated. Can. 8 Universal ecclesiastical laws are promulgated by publication in the ‘Acta Apostolicae Sedis’, unless in particular cases another manner of promulgation has been prescribed. They come into force only on the expiry of three months from the date appearing on the particular issue of the ‘Acta’, unless because of the nature of the case they bind at once, or unless a shorter or a longer interval has been specifically and expressly prescribed in the law itself…”
Having spent at least two Internet hours trying to find sensible clarity on the issue of age of consent in the Vatican, I surrender to the density of the verbiage and the shadows of obfuscation.
I don’t know what/which law says what/where about it. Any insightful advice or wisdom is welcome here. (See comment below.)