Sunday, April 11, 2010

Vatican / United Kingdom / Child Sexual Abuse

Richard Dawkins Planning to Have Pope Benedict Arrested over "Crimes against Humanity"
The Telegraph, April 11, 2010
Richard Dawkins, the atheist campaigner and evolutionist, is planning to have Pope Benedict XVI arrested when he comes to Britain later this year for 'crimes against humanity.' Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, the atheist author, are seeking advice from human rights lawyers as to what legal action can be taken against the pope over his alleged cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic church. It emerged this weekend that in 1985 when he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which deals with sex abuse cases, the pope signed a letter arguing that the 'good of the universal church' should be considered against the defrocking of an American priest who committed sex offences against two boys. Dawkin and Hitchens believe he should face criminal proceedings because his 'first instinct' was to protect the church rather than the children in its care. They are hoping to exploit the same legal principle used to arrest Augusto Pinochet, the late Chilean dictator, on a Spanish warrant when he visited Britain in 1998.
The Pope will be visit London, Glasgow and Coventry, during his time in the UK between September 16 and 19. 'This is a man whose first instinct when his priests are caught with their pants down is to cover up the scandal and damn the young victims to silence,' Dawkins, who wrote The God Delusion, said. 'This man is not above or outside the law. The institutionalised concealment of child rape is a crime under any law and demands not private ceremonies of repentance or church-funded payoffs, but justice and punishment,' Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great, said. Their lawyers, barrister Geoffrey Robertson and Mark Stephens, a solicitor, believe they can ask the Crown prosecution Service and that Pope Benedict will not be able to claim diplomatic immunity since he is not the head of a state recognised by the United Nations. 'There is every possibility of legal action against the Pope occurring,' said Stephens. 'Geoffrey and I have both come to the view that the Vatican is not actually a state in international law. It is not recognised by the UN, it does not have borders that are policed and its relations are not of a full diplomatic nature.' [...]"

1 comment:

  1. "The Pope was embroiled in new controversy this weekend over a letter he signed arguing that the “good of the universal church” should be considered against the defrocking of an American priest who committed sex offences against two boys. It was dated 1985, when he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which deals with sex abuse cases."

    To be clear until 2001 the Congregation only dealt with Sex Abuse cases that involved the Confessional

    The latest supposed Controversal involved a Priest that wanted a dispensation (called some times Laicization or at time defrocking which is an unfortunate term for many reasons.

    The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Fatih had jurisdiction over this matter because it handled these dispensations. A person can leave the Priesthood on his on but that does not mean his obligation of celibacy is relieved. The real consequence of people asking for dispensations (which this Priest did) and the reason they are asking it is to marry (which after he got it at the age of 40) which this guy did. I am not sure why the Pope should be making a exception for a child abuser to move to the front of the line and so as a Lay person can marry. Hopefully he had no kids. I am not sure of that.

    That is the scandal that Benedict is talking about. That being Priests who left the Priesthood and then in short years just got married.

    Again a Priest can barred from active Ministry (which happened here and is similar to a Protestant defrocking" however he is still under the obligation of celibacy untill released. He was realized from it at the age of 40 which was the practice and I believe still is the practice today.

    In the end the techincal moving of someone under Canon Law from the Cleric State to the LayState is usually the last offical step and in reality is largely symbolic except for the lifiting of the celibacy requirement which is the main real world consequence for those that asked to be dispensed as we see in this case.


Please be constructive in your comments. - AJ