"RICHARD DAWKINS, the atheist campaigner, is planning a legal ambush to have the Pope arrested during his state visit to Britain “for crimes against humanity”.
Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, the atheist author, have asked human rights lawyers to produce a case for charging Pope Benedict XVI over his alleged cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic church"
I wish Mr Dawkins and Mr Hitchens the best of luck with their efforts to get The Pope arrested. Whilst I expect some legal loophole might be found to prevent it from happening, their case seems not unreasonable:
- The Pope signed a letter in 1985 advocating a cover-up for the "good of the universal church" regarding a "American priest who committed sex offences against two boys". This is concrete evidence, although there is also a great deal of circumstantial evidence.
- In addition to the "crimes against humanity" angle there is also the "perversion of the course of justice" angle, as exemplified by the letter above plus other evidence.
- The Vatican is not a state under international law so he can't claim diplomatic immunity
Child sexual abuse is a disgusting and abhorrent crime and all those who are accused of it need investigating and, if appropriate, prosecuting. All those involved in the cover-up need similarly investigating and prosecuting. This awful business goes right to the top and Pope Benedict himself is clearly implicated. Justice demands an investigation and trials.
Many Catholics are now ashamed to be Catholics. Here is one example:
"last Sunday's Panorama on BBC, 'Sex Crimes and The Vatican', made me once again ashamed to be Catholic.
Ashamed that our priests could so abuse the trust traditionally placed in them and their vocation. Ashamed that our bishops could take so much trouble to cover up their appalling activities and help the guilty avoid punishment. And ashamed that the same bishops, in a church founded on love and compassion, showed so little of either for the children concerned"
And what happened after the programme:
"Straight after the broadcast, the Catholic leader in England, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, wrote to the (Catholic) Director General of the BBC to complain that the Corporation was "deeply prejudiced" against the Church. The cardinal's reaction to seeing grown men weeping, 20 years on, at the memory of how they were repeatedly raped in presbytery bedrooms, sums up the failure of Catholic bishops everywhere to understand the damage done"
No willingness to investigate, no apology, no shame, no humility. This whole business is a terrible indictment of the institution of the Catholic Church and it's policy of systematically hushing up and hiding appalling behaviour by it's own for the "good of the universal church".
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor should be ashamed, Pope Benedict should be ashamed rather than dismissing this as "petty gossip". They should all be ashamed of themselves and the institution they represent. I'll leave you with this thought:
What would Jesus have done?