NEW YORK (AP) — Pope Francis signed into law Thursday legislation to prevent bishops and priests from making sexual contact with minors.
The measure, known as the “Papal Nuncio” — or no one but me — law, is part of a broader effort by Francis to reform the Catholic Church’s handling of sex abuse cases.
The legislation would prohibit bishops from teaching to seminarians that they can commit acts of sexual exploitation.
The measure also requires priests to disclose their sexual orientation to victims.
It was signed into the law by Pope Francis in a ceremony at the Vatican on Thursday evening, with his two other top aides, Cardinal Raymond Burke and Cardinal Carlo Maria Viganò, also present.
The bill, which is scheduled to take effect in July, prohibits clergy from participating in or supporting any activities that promote or condone prostitution, solicitation for prostitution, sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of children.
It also requires bishops to report any instances of abuse to authorities, such as the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security or the U.S. Department of Justice.
In addition to the ban on clergy from promoting prostitution and solicitation for it, Francis also signed into Law 13, a law that would require religious institutions to make “informal disclosures” about their policies about sex trafficking, and prohibit them from accepting money or gifts from persons who are sex traffickers.
Francis is not the first pope to sign a law against sex trafficking.
Benedict XVI in 2014 also signed the Anti-Trafficking Act into law.
He signed it into law during a visit to Washington in March 2015.
Francis, the pope of the Catholic church, is the first pontiff to serve under the administration of President Donald Trump.