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Lowest age of consent

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03swalker
768459.  Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:35 am Reply with quote

So stephen repeated that wonderful urban myth about the aoc being 12 in Vatican City.

Wiki has a nice explanation of the reality of their age of consent - i'm astounded that qi would repeat such a myth.

Wiki: ages of consent in europe

Posted from my ipod -so excuse the lack of proper grammar.

 
Curious Danny
768469.  Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:16 pm Reply with quote

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE4BU3BD20081231

Seems a pretty water-tight objection

 
Zebra57
768586.  Mon Dec 20, 2010 9:25 pm Reply with quote

This is definitely one for an end of series modification.

 
suze
768701.  Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:49 am Reply with quote

It would be, were it not that it is true rather than being an urban myth.

Vatican criminal law was originally based on that of Italy as at four and a half years before the time when the Holy See was established as a "country" under the Lateran Treaty of 1929. The reason for that slightly complicated arrangement was to do with the death penalty - Italy had abolished capital punishment in 1889 and reintroduced it in 1926. The Vatican didn't want capital punishment, so it chose to adopt Italian law in force as of 31 December 1924.

Between 1929 and 2008, new Italian criminal laws were automatically translated into Vatican law unless the Pope specifically decreed otherwise, but amendments to existing laws were not. Which means that the age of consent didn't change to 14 when it changed to 14 in Italy in 1930.


Graupner, H (1997). Sexualität, Jugendschutz und Menschenrechte - Band 2, Lang Verlag, Frankfurt am Main.

 
paddington
772069.  Mon Jan 03, 2011 4:28 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:

Between 1929 and 2008, new Italian criminal laws were automatically translated into Vatican law unless the Pope specifically decreed otherwise, but amendments to existing laws were not. Which means that the age of consent didn't change to 14 when it changed to 14 in Italy in 1930.


Nice try, but no cigar.

The law of Italy applied only where it did not conflict with Canon Law; under Canon Law since 1962, the age of consent is 16 for males and 14 for females (yes, that looks discriminatory by European standards, but a differentiation was not then uncommon worldwide, and Canon Law has to apply internationally).

The quibble some people then try is that this applies to marriage, not to sex - but under canon law sex is only licit within marriage anyway, so there can be no valid consent to sex under 16/14 (as above) within the Vatican City State.

QI needs to correct this.

 
ali
772103.  Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:54 pm Reply with quote

Nice catch, but for those who want more specific details:

Codex Iuris Canonici wrote:
Can. 1083 — § 1. Vir ante decimum sextum aetatis annum completum, mulier ante decimum quartum item completum, matrimonium valide inire non possunt.

§ 2. Integrum est Episcoporum conferentiae aetatem superiorem ad licitam matrimonii celebrationem statuere.


The English version

On the other hand:

paddington wrote:
The law of Italy applied only where it did not conflict with Canon Law


needs to be referenced - it doesn't seem to be explicit in the Lateran Treaty

 
paddington
772256.  Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:39 am Reply with quote

ali wrote:

On the other hand:

paddington wrote:
The law of Italy applied only where it did not conflict with Canon Law


needs to be referenced - it doesn't seem to be explicit in the Lateran Treaty


Unfortunately I don't think the primary source is available on-line, but there is a published research article available for reference, which identifies that the "Law of the Source of Laws" governing the adoption of Italian Law places it secondary to Canon Law, so Canon Law overrides any contrary article of Italian Law (see section 2 of that article).

I'm sure QI could obtain a copy of the document from the Vatican if they really want to be sure.

 
ali
772281.  Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:59 pm Reply with quote

I think this is the primary source - specifically N. II. - Legge sulle fonti del diritto from which article 3 (below) is the relevant section.

Quote:
3. Nelle materie, alle quali non provvedano le fonti indicate nell'art. 1, si osservano, in via suppletiva e fino a che non siasi provveduto con leggi proprie della Città del Vaticano, le leggi emanate dal Regno d'Italia fino alla data di entrata in vigore della presente insieme ai loro regolamenti generali ed a quelli locali della Provincia e del Governatorato di Boma, indicati negli articoli seguenti e colle modificazioni e limitazioni specificate nei medesimi, sempre che dette leggi e regolamenti non sieno contrari ai precetti di diritto divino né ai principi generali del diritto canonico, nonché alle norme del Trattato e del Concordato stipulati fra la S. Sede ed il Regno d'Italia nell' 11 febbraio 1929 e sempre che, in relazione allo stato di fatto esistente nella Città del Vaticano, risultino ivi applicabili.


Unfortunately, I haven't found this in an English version and my Italian isn't up to translating it (though it's good enough to see that it's full of typos), but it does seem to substantiate the view that Canon Law takes precedence.


paddington wrote:
The quibble some people then try is that this applies to marriage, not to sex - but under canon law sex is only licit within marriage anyway, so there can be no valid consent to sex under 16/14 (as above) within the Vatican City State.


I think this quibble has more force than you think - the only references I have found to sex outside marriage in Canon law relate specifically to offences committed by clerics. The fact that it is considered sinful for lay persons does not ipso facto make it illegal in a civil sense.

 
paddington
772315.  Tue Jan 04, 2011 4:39 pm Reply with quote

ali wrote:
I think this is the primary source - specifically N. II. - Legge sulle fonti del diritto from which article 3 (below) is the relevant section.

Thankyou for finding that!

ali wrote:
paddington wrote:
The quibble some people then try is that this applies to marriage, not to sex - but under canon law sex is only licit within marriage anyway, so there can be no valid consent to sex under 16/14 (as above) within the Vatican City State.


I think this quibble has more force than you think - the only references I have found to sex outside marriage in Canon law relate specifically to offences committed by clerics. The fact that it is considered sinful for lay persons does not ipso facto make it illegal in a civil sense.


Actually, I think it does: the text you quoted included the phrase:

Quote:
sempre che dette leggi e regolamenti non sieno contrari ai precetti di diritto divino né ai principi generali del diritto canonico


..which I believe translates as excluding laws which contravene not just Canon Law per se but also Divine Law and the principles of Canon Law.

It's certainly Catholic understanding of Divine Law that sex outside marriage is illicit, and this is one of the principle of Canon Law, so licit consent to intercourse cannot be given outside marriage: hence the age of consent to marriage has to be the same as the age of consent to intercourse.

 
paddington
774864.  Thu Jan 13, 2011 4:24 am Reply with quote

What, no response from any of the elves?

The myth that QI has perpetuated is gaining support from QI's error - try googling 'vatican age of consent' and you'll find the QI mistake being quoted in support of it.

Stephen Fry is of course known for his nasty views on Catholicism, so no doubt spreading this fiction delights him, but isn't QI was meant to above his personal prejudices??

 
dr.bob
774916.  Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:30 am Reply with quote

As I see it, your argument is twofold:

1) Canon law defines an age of consent for marriage (16 for boys, 14 for girls)

2) That implicitly defines the age of consent for sex, since sex outwith marriage is against Canon Law


A quick search on the internet turned up a complete list of Canon Law here:
http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_INDEX.HTM

Now, I've had a look through the rules for marriage, and your first point is absolutely correct. Canon 1083 states:
Quote:
A man before he has completed his sixteenth year of age and a woman before she has completed her fourteenth year of age cannot enter into a valid marriage.


Sorted!

However, I can't find anything about pre-marital sex in the section about marriage. It does list a number of impediments to marriage, including impotence and not having been baptised into the Catholic church. It does not list pre-marital sex as an impediment to marriage, though.

I've not looked through the entire Canon Law to find where it mentions pre-marital sex since, frankly, I've got better things to do with my life. A few google searches on "canon law" and "premarital sex" turned up very little, though.

Perhaps you could back up part 2 of your argument by pointing out where in Canon Law it forbids pre-martial sex.

 
Neotenic
774928.  Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:45 am Reply with quote



Cannon law; He who has the cannon, makes the law.

 
paddington
774937.  Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:54 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
As I see it, your argument is twofold:

1) Canon law defines an age of consent for marriage (16 for boys, 14 for girls)

2) That implicitly defines the age of consent for sex, since sex outwith marriage is against Canon Law


No: point 2 isn't correct.

Look at my post of 4 Jan: the issue here is that Italian Law (the issue about what date isn't relevant here) is accepted only where it does not contravene Canon Law or God's Law. Sex outside marriage is clearly understood by the Church to be excluded by God's Law (as expressed in the sixth commandment - see http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s2c2a6.htm#2353 and its context for the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the subject).

So any Italian law under which consent to sex is possible outside marriage contravenes God's Law, and is thus not valid within the Vatican City under the "Law of Sources of Law" on which Vatican City law is based; and if people cannot validly consent to sex outside marriage, then the age limits for marriage are also those for sex.

(Having talked to a clergyman who was at one time regarded as a senior Canon Lawyer within the Vatican - now rather elderly and not online, unfortunately, he confirms that this is the view taken within the Vatican - has anyone from QI actually thought of asking the Vatican or the Papal Legate in the UK for a comment?)

 
dr.bob
775077.  Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:57 am Reply with quote

I will bow to the superior knowledge of a senior Canon Lawyer within the Vatican. It sounds like this could be a candidate for the Retractions Special.

However, I have a few questions:

You mention that adultery is banned by the 10 commandments, then provide a link explaining the meaning of fornication (sex between two unmarried people). Are adultery and fornication the same thing?

Is everything mentioned in the 10 commandments therefore illegal in the Holy See? Does that mean I can be arrested for coveting my neighbour's ox if I live there?

The 10 commandments also mention that you shouldn't "make for yourself an idol, in the form of anything that is in heaven above" or "bow down to them or worship them". To an ignorant atheist like myself, a lot of what goes on in the Vatican seems to violate this commandment. I'm sure this has been pointed out before, so I'd be interested to know the explanation for this behaviour.

What else in the Bible counts as God's Law and therefore legally enforceable in the Vatican City? Deuteronomy 14 famously prohibits the eating of shellfish (among other things). Are shellfish restaurants illegal in the Holy See?

 
paddington
775140.  Thu Jan 13, 2011 4:39 pm Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
I will bow to the superior knowledge of a senior Canon Lawyer within the Vatican. It sounds like this could be a candidate for the Retractions Special.

However, I have a few questions:

You mention that adultery is banned by the 10 commandments, then provide a link explaining the meaning of fornication (sex between two unmarried people). Are adultery and fornication the same thing?


No; but the commandment against adultery is taken as covering a wider range of specific behaviours. You'd have to do some reading in Catholic theology for the full reasoning behind this, but I don't think anyone could reasonably argue that the Church didn't regard premarital sex as against God's law!

Quote:
Is everything mentioned in the 10 commandments therefore illegal in the Holy See? Does that mean I can be arrested for coveting my neighbour's ox if I live there?


Probably not; the Holy See adopted Italian law as far as it did not conflict with God's Law and Canon Law. If there's an Italian law which provides for coveting an ox to be a crime, then it would be valid law in the Vatican (as it wouldn't contravene those other laws), but I doubt that there is. If there's no such Italian law, then there's no such Vatican law.

Quote:
The 10 commandments also mention that you shouldn't "make for yourself an idol, in the form of anything that is in heaven above" or "bow down to them or worship them". To an ignorant atheist like myself, a lot of what goes on in the Vatican seems to violate this commandment. I'm sure this has been pointed out before, so I'd be interested to know the explanation for this behaviour.


In Catholicism, the only object of worship is God; a physical object (such as a statue or painting) may be a reminder of the presence of God, or a sign of God; but if a Catholic bows in front of the altar (for example) it is an act of worship of God, with the altar just a sign, not of worship of the altar itself.

But I accept that from external appearances the difference may not be obvious, especially to someone who has no knowledge of the presence of God.

 

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