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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis signals upcoming reforms in Vatican criminal law

Pope Francis met with jurists from the Vatican's lay criminal tribunal to mark the beginning of the court's new legal year. 

The Pope thanked them for their work, and signaled upcoming reforms to modernize the Vatican's criminal justice system.

Further needs for the updating of Vatican legislation, especially in the field of criminal procedure and international cooperation, may be addressed in targeted reforms which are already being studied."

In June, the Pope instituted a major change in the Vatican's justice system, allowing bishops and cardinals to be prosecuted by the Vatican's lay tribunal, rather than by other cardinals. One example of Pope Francis' efforts to develop a legal system in the Vatican that is on par with courts around the world.

"These reforms are intended to correspond, on the one hand, to the parameters developed by the international community in various spheres, such as the economic one, and, on the other, to the Church's own need to adapt all her structures to an increasingly evangelical style. "

The Pope's comments come just one week before Cardinal Angelo Becciu will take the witness stand in a Vatican trial surrounding the purchase and sale of a London property by the Vatican Secretariat of State, in which it is expected to lose over 100 million dollars.

The trial is a test of how the changes Pope Francis has implemented so far can hold Vatican officials accountable, and may reveal what reforms still need to be made.