Should the Pope Be Arrested?

I’m sure you’ve all heard by now of Christopher Hitchens’ and Richard Dawkins’ push to have the Pope arrested for crimes against humanity, for his multiple cover-ups of priests sexually abusing children. In my opinion, there isn’t any question that he should be—I guess the only real question is, can he? Perhaps we’ll find out soon. If he can’t, that would be a crime against humanity in itself.

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For that matter, the whole Catholic Church should be “arrested” for crimes against humanity.

  
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Amen to that! :-)

  
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He would never be arrested… no-one would have the balls to sanction it.

Can you imagine what would happen?
Italy would declare war on whoever arrested him :D

  
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I would be curious to see this discussed by lawyers. The ramifications are wide-ranging, and I suspect that the best that could be laid on any reigning Pope would be conspiracy, and he could of course deny all knowledge. Any legal action would be a long, slow, process of dealing with specific charges against specific actors, and the layers of insulation between the parish priest and the Papal See are many. As it is, recent evidence seems to acquit Pius XII of many of the crimes laid at his doorstep regarding ODESSA and the activities of the Church during WWII. I wonder what Rolf Hochhuth has to say about it all.

  
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As much as I’d love to see Pope Benedict arrested, tried, and thrown behind bars, as well as most of his Vatican cronies, it will certainly never happen in the US, as Bush granted him immunity in 2008 from any prosecution.

  
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@Sachiko – This is one of those weird cases where I find myself totally agreeing with Christopher Hitchens (who still defends the US invasion of Iraq, by the way).
The pope SHOULD be arrested… but as a practical matter, it will NEVER happen. No politician in America or Western Europe can afford to do it and thereby alienate millions of Catholic voters.
But this conflict between the Church and secular authority goes all the way back to Henry II and Thomas Becket. It’s nothing particularly new, and the issue remains unresolved… to everybody’s distaste.
This is why I was so angered when Ratzinger was elected pope. What COULD you expect from a former member of the Hitler Youth?

  
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@sagredo – Good to see you’re still around sagredo – you haven’t posted here for many months now!

Originally Posted By Firefly
This is why I was so angered when Ratzinger was elected pope. What COULD you expect from a former member of the Hitler Youth?

Really? The Pope was a member of the Hitler Youth? 8-O

  
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Politically impossible. People are more likely to vote with their feet or $. The other interesting trend is the return to pre-Vatican II values, if not the use of Latin. Like most of the other Abrahamic religions, there is a growing trend towards close minded conservatism – “My way is the right way, and all the others are wrong.” That just supports Ernest Becker’s view of religion and it’s role in preventing us from being constantly reminded of our own mortality. Dawkins takes that notion even further. I can’t remember whether it was Marx or Lenin who said that religion was the opiate of the masses. The Grand Inquisitor in “The Brothers Karamazov” was of similar opinion. Just seems to me that in the grand scheme of things, whether the Pope can or should be indicted or not is unimportant compared to many more important issues – such as the poisoning of the planet.

  
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Actually, no I don’t think that the Pope should be arrested for “crimes against humanity”. About the only thing that I think he could be criminally guilty of is conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, by actively or passively allowing criminals priests and brothers to avoid prosecution.

And I think on the strength of what I read, he might actually be guilty of that. The question then lies on whether he is the head of state, in which case, in most legal jurisdictions, he is immune from prosecution. Sort of like Diplomatic Immunity.

Oh, and yes. When Joseph Ratzinger was a boy, he was a member of the Hitler Youth. From Wikipedia (which is not a difinitive source, so it is worth checking):

Following his 14th birthday in 1941, Ratzinger was conscripted into the Hitler Youth — as membership was required by law for all 14-year old German boys after December 1939 — but was an unenthusiastic member who refused to attend meetings. His father was a enemy of Nazism, believing it conflicted with the Catholic faith. In 1941, one of Ratzinger’s cousins, a 14-year-old boy with Down syndrome, was taken away by the Nazi regime and killed during the Aktion T4 campaign of Nazi eugenics.[9] In 1943, while still in seminary, he was drafted into the German anti-aircraft corps as Luftwaffenhelfer. Ratzinger then trained in the German infantry, but a subsequent illness precluded him from the usual rigours of military duty. As the Allied front drew closer to his post in 1945, he deserted back to his family’s home in Traunstein after his unit had ceased to exist, just as American troops established their headquarters in the Ratzinger household. As a German soldier, he was put in a POW camp but was released a few months later at the end of the war in the summer of 1945. He reentered the seminary, along with his brother Georg, in November of that year.

So it would seem that it is hard to find any German man of that age who were not in the Hitler Youth. It also seems that he spent most of the war in a Seminary, studying to be a priest.

Ratzinger is a lot of things (and as a former Catholic, I had major problems with his Prefecture of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), it is a stretch to call him a NAZI.

  
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Thanks for the clarification Christopher! I guess his membership doesn’t really mean anything then.

  
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As for having the Pope arrested, the Vatican is a sovereign nation, good luck with the extradition. Even if the Pope is removed, will the replacement be any different? You have the Vatican, a closed society, grooming potential replacements, requiring only a consensus within to elected a replacement. Cut off the head your monster will simply grow another.

Consider this; how many U.S. Presidents have served time? Just need to belong to the right club.

Eroding the credibility of the church by exposing their misdeeds is far more powerful than any legal maneuver. There will always be those who must have the promise of a next life for allowing themselves to be victims. There are many who listen to the Church, but who would be willing to question that faith for the right reason. Uncover the truth and the rest will happen on its own.

  
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Try George Walker Bush first
Americans, you do talk big but dont walk the walk.

  
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@Anonish
Anonish, maybe I took the crooked path in my observation.
To clarify, I was really embarrassed by George W. At the end, so were most Americans. But, running our presidents out of office is not our style.
As for my observations.
The Pope could never be arrested. In fact if he were, it would only circle the wagons and get those Christians on the fence galvanized on protecting the Christian faith and church, no matter how corrupt.
The best path, I believe, is to allow the freedom of information to point out how much the Vatican is a corrupt and single minded society. Arresting the Pope will only bring another with the same mindset. Even if publicly, he will call for reform.
In the end George W Bush was discredited, and the republican party was left in a shambles. Not so bad for us Americans not doing anything. Same for any religious leader or political leader. Public shame erodes the peoples trust. It is why the Fourth Estate, in whatever form is best tool.
The Pope will be not have the full faith and trust of his flock. Even if only a few question their religious faith, for me it is enough.

George W. was the most dangerous of our presidents, because he believed his own B.S. The Vatican in my opinion has the same problem. Clinton was forgiven, because he was smart enough to recognize all he had to say is I am getting a little on the side. And Ted Kennedy, just said yep, I am sleeping around.
Short version. Trade faith for truth, even if it is a small truth. You won’t need heaven to feel good about your life or yourself.
Peace

  
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I imagine Pope Benedict is feeling like a Christian Scientist with appendicitis. Sorry it’s something I had to borrow from Tom Lehrer.

  
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Originally Posted By d8nvn@Anonish
Anonish, maybe I took the crooked path in my observation.
To clarify, I was really embarrassed by George W. At the end, so were most Americans. But, running our presidents out of office is not our style.
As for my observations.
The Pope could never be arrested. In fact if he were, it would only circle the wagons and get those Christians on the fence galvanized on protecting the Christian faith and church, no matter how corrupt.
The best path, I believe, is to allow the freedom of information to point out how much the Vatican is a corrupt and single minded society. Arresting the Pope will only bring another with the same mindset. Even if publicly, he will call for reform.
In the end George W Bush was discredited, and the republican party was left in a shambles. Not so bad for us Americans not doing anything. Same for any religious leader or political leader. Public shame erodes the peoples trust. It is why the Fourth Estate, in whatever form is best tool.
The Pope will be not have the full faith and trust of his flock. Even if only a few question their religious faith, for me it is enough.

George W. was the most dangerous of our presidents, because he believed his own B.S. The Vatican in my opinion has the same problem. Clinton was forgiven, because he was smart enough to recognize all he had to say is I am getting a little on the side. And Ted Kennedy, just said yep, I am sleeping around.
Short version. Trade faith for truth, even if it is a small truth. You won’t need heaven to feel good about your life or yourself.
Peace

You better not be expecting us protestant Christians to be protecting his sorry ass. Corruption and greed are the main reasons why we split off from the Roman Catholic Church in the first place so many centuries ago, and they STILL haven’t changed one bit. Actually you may more likely find protestants celebrating the fact that he would have to take responsibility for all of this crap. So yeah, don’t lump all Christians together.

  
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The UN covers up more sexual assaults against children than the catholic church, should we arrest Ban Ki Moon, or maybe Kofi Annan since he was plagued by these cover ups for his entire career?

  
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Originally Posted By Steve Tulley
The UN covers up more sexual assaults against children than the catholic church

Do you actually have any evidence to back up that claim?

  
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@Steve Tulley – Your claim was that the UN covers up more sexual assaults against children than the catholic church, and you haven’t proved that – you’ve only shown that sexual assaults occurred.

  
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It was only after the story of the widespread child sexual abuse in the Congo broke that the UN acknowledged the problem. Only then did they acknowledge that it had gone on for a while and was endemic in the former Yugoslavia.

I worked with the Kosovar refugees when they first came to Australia and a lot of the underage teen girls were open that it was the way to get things done with the UN. I was shocked at first but many adults confirmed the stories.

The UN covered it up for years, just like they did in Africa and I have no doubt they still are. Once any organisation develops that sort of culture it never fades.

To end on a happy note one of the Kosovar children came to work for me last year. It was only after we started talking that I figured out who his parents were.

  
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