Spain is getting tough on paedophilia. A reform of the country’s criminal code will make sexual abuse cases involving minors on the same level as terrorist crimes – with no statute of limitations.

Spain’s deputy prime minister, Carmen Calvo, announced the plans to the secretary of state at the Vatican, Pietro Parolin, during a two-hour meeting between the two in Rome earlier this week.

As reported by Spain’s newspaper El País, the Socialist Party (PSOE) politician also broached other delicate issues in terms of state-Church relations, including tax benefits for bishops and land and properties claimed by the Catholic Church in Spain.

The meeting came at a particularly uncomfortable moment for the ecclesiastical hierarchy, given recent news stories published by EL PAÍS that prove that the institution silenced sexual offenses committed by the clergy for decades, despite having knowledge of them.

“The Church has conveyed its concern, which is shared by the government, over the need to deliver justice to the victims of abuse, and prevent these incidents taking place in the future,” read a statement released by the Spanish government shortly after the meeting. “As such, the government has informed the Vatican of changes to the Criminal Code with a view to removing the statute of limitations from these offenses.”