Vatican hideout will protect Benedict from sexual abuse prosecution – Philip Pullella

Red Rover Red Rover - Send Benedict On Over

Philip Pullella“When Benedict went to Britain in 2010, British author and atheist campaigner Richard Dawkins asked authorities to arrest the pope to face questions over the Church’s child abuse scandal. Dawkins and the late British-American journalist Christopher Hitchens commissioned lawyers to explore ways of taking legal action against the pope. In 2011, victims of sexual abuse by the clergy asked the International Criminal Court to investigate the pope and three Vatican officials over sexual abuse. The New York-based rights group Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and another group, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), filed a complaint with the ICC alleging that Vatican officials committed crimes against humanity because they tolerated and enabled sex crimes.” – Philip Pullella

Pope Benedict XVIPope Benedict’s decision to live in the Vatican after he resigns will provide him with security and privacy. It will also offer legal protection from any attempt to prosecute him in connection with sexual abuse cases around the world, Church sources and legal experts say.

“His continued presence in the Vatican is necessary, otherwise he might be defenseless. He wouldn’t have his immunity, his prerogatives, his security, if he is anywhere else,” said one Vatican official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“It is absolutely necessary” that he stays in the Vatican, said the source, adding that Benedict should have a “dignified existence” in his remaining years.

Vatcan Policeman: Will he arrest Benedict if requested by Interpol?Vatican sources said officials had three main considerations in deciding that Benedict should live in a convent in the Vatican after he resigns on February 28.

Vatican police, who already know the pope and his habits, will be able to guarantee his privacy and security and not have to entrust it to a foreign police force, which would be necessary if he moved to another country.

“I see a big problem if he would go anywhere else. I’m thinking in terms of his personal security, his safety. We don’t have a secret service that can devote huge resources (like they do) to ex-presidents,” the official said.

Another consideration was that if the pope did move permanently to another country, living in seclusion in a monastery in his native Germany, for example, the location might become a place of pilgrimage.

This could be complicated for the Church, particularly in the unlikely event that the next pope makes decisions that may displease conservatives, who could then go to Benedict’s place of residence to pay tribute to him.

“That would be very problematic,” another Vatican official said.

Geoffrey Robertson QCPotential Exposure

The final key consideration is the pope’s potential exposure to legal claims over the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandals.

In 2010, for example, Benedict was named as a defendant in a law suit alleging that he failed to take action as a cardinal in 1995 when he was allegedly told about a priest who had abused boys at a U.S. school for the deaf decades earlier. The lawyers withdrew the case last year and the Vatican said it was a major victory that proved the pope could not be held liable for the actions of abusive priests.

Benedict is currently not named specifically in any other case. The Vatican does not expect any more but is not ruling out the possibility.

“(If he lived anywhere else) then we might have those crazies who are filing lawsuits, or some magistrate might arrest him like other (former) heads of state have been for alleged acts while he was head of state,” one source said.

Another official said: “While this was not the main consideration, it certainly is a corollary, a natural result.”

After he resigns, Benedict will no longer be the sovereign monarch of the State of Vatican City, which is surrounded by Rome, but will retain Vatican citizenship and residency.

Christopher HitchensLateran Pacts

That would continue to provide him immunity under the provisions of the Lateran Pacts while he is in the Vatican and even if he makes jaunts into Italy as a Vatican citizen.

The 1929 Lateran Pacts between Italy and the Holy See, which established Vatican City as a sovereign state, said Vatican City would be “invariably and in every event considered as neutral and inviolable territory”.

There have been repeated calls for Benedict’s arrest over sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

When Benedict went to Britain in 2010, British author and atheist campaigner Richard Dawkins asked authorities to arrest the pope to face questions over the Church’s child abuse scandal.

Dawkins and the late British-American journalist Christopher Hitchens commissioned lawyers to explore ways of taking legal action against the pope. Their efforts came to nothing because the pope was a head of state and so enjoyed diplomatic immunity.

In 2011, victims of sexual abuse by the clergy asked the International Criminal Court to investigate the pope and three Vatican officials over sexual abuse.

The New York-based rights group Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and another group, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), filed a complaint with the ICC alleging that Vatican officials committed crimes against humanity because they tolerated and enabled sex crimes.

The ICC has not taken up the case but has never said why. It generally does not comment on why it does not take up cases.

BoyNot like a CEO

The Vatican has consistently said that a pope cannot be held accountable for cases of abuse committed by others because priests are employees of individual dioceses around the world and not direct employees of the Vatican. It says the head of the church cannot be compared to the CEO of a company.

Victims groups have said Benedict, particularly in his previous job at the head of the Vatican’s doctrinal department, turned a blind eye to the overall policies of local Churches, which moved abusers from parish to parish instead of defrocking them and handing them over to authorities.

The Vatican has denied this. The pope has apologized for abuse in the Church, has met with abuse victims on many of his trips, and ordered a major investigation into abuse in Ireland.

But groups representing some of the victims say the Pope will leave office with a stain on his legacy because he was in positions of power in the Vatican for more than three decades, first as a cardinal and then as pope, and should have done more.

The scandals began years before the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope in 2005 but the issue has overshadowed his papacy from the beginning, as more and more cases came to light in dioceses across the world.

Archbishop Roger Mahony of Los AngelesAs recently as last month, the former archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahony, was stripped by his successor of all public and administrative duties after a thousands of pages of files detailing abuse in the 1980s were made public.

Mahony, who was archbishop of Los Angeles from 1985 until 2011, has apologized for “mistakes” he made as archbishop, saying he had not been equipped to deal with the problem of sexual misconduct involving children. The pope was not named in that case.

In 2007, the Los Angeles archdiocese, which serves 4 million Catholics, reached a $660 million civil settlement with more than 500 victims of child molestation, the biggest agreement of its kind in the United States.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the pope “gave the fight against sexual abuse a new impulse, ensuring that new rules were put in place to prevent future abuse and to listen to victims. That was a great merit of his papacy and for that we will be grateful”. – Huff Post, 17 February 2013

» Reporting by Philip Pullella; Additional reporting by Robin Pomeroy; Edited by Simon Robinson and Giles Elgood

Mater Ecclesiae Monastery

Benedict’s hideout in the Vatican Gardens

See also

  1. Bishop Accountability
  2. Benedict XVI on child abuse: It’s normal for men and children! – Sign of the Times
  3. Richard Dawkins calls for arrest of Pope Benedict XVI
  4. Put the Pope in the Dock: The Vatican should feel the full weight of international law – Geoffrey Robertson
  5. The Catholic priests who abused children—and the men who covered it up—must be prosecuted – Christopher Hitchens
  6. Benedict XVI: Sex abuse victims urge ICC to prosecute pope – Robert Chesal
  7. The Pope is not above the law – Christopher Hitchens
  8. Dutch Catholic Church: Not only did it abuse boys, it castrated the whistle-blowers – Robert Chesal
  9. Dutch Child Sex Abuse Archive – Radio Netherlands
  10. Catholic Church abused tens of thousands of children in Holland – Times of India
  11. Catholic Ireland to close its Vatican embassy because of child sex abuse issues – Vaiju Naravane
  12. US Jesuits pay $166,000,000 to sex abuse victims in Oregan – William Yardley
  13. Catholic Church pays $77 million to sex abuse victims – Laurie Goldstein
  14. Buggery and Pope Benedict XVI – Media Reports
  15. Mote and the beam – Sandhya Jain
  16. K.B. Shibu: Sexual depravity in God’s own church – Media Reports
  17. Benedict XVI: Papal infallibility to moral frailty – Sandhya Jain
  18. Vatican: Religion or polity? – Sandhya Jain

3 Responses

  1. Reblogged this on HINDUISM AND SANATAN DHARMA and commented:
    Whole christianity and islamist are like two brothers. What islamist does now, was done by christians, catholics ,churches just 100 years ago.


  2. Pope Benedict XVI Resigned Because Of Powerful Vatican Gay Lobby, Italian Paper Claims – Meredith Bennett-Smith – HuffPost – 22 February 2013

    Was the pope under the influence of a secretive “gay lobby” within the Vatican itself?

    That’s the claim put forth by Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica.

    On Thursday, the popular paper published an article alleging that Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to resign this month was partly prompted by a report that accused Vatican officials of being under the influence of several internal lobbies, reportedly including a gay one.

    The Irish Times reports that Benedict commissioned the report after the Vatileaks scandal broke last year. The report, written by a trio of cardinals, concluded that “various lobbies within the Holy See were consistently breaking” the sixth and seventh commandments, “thou shalt not commit adultery” and “thou shalt not steal.”

    (The sixth commandment referencing adultery has historically been tied to the Catholic Church’s doctrine banning homosexuality.)

    The nearly 300-page dossier would be passed on to pope’s successor, the report added.

    Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, released an arguably vague statement about the accusations.

    “Neither the cardinals’ commission nor I will make comments to confirm or deny the things that are said about this matter,” he said, according to the Guardian. “Let each one assume his or her own responsibilities. We shall not be following up on the observations that are made about this.”

    The Guardian also reported that a separate Italian daily, Corriere della Sera, mentioned a “disturbing” dossier in an article published soon after the pope’s resignation announcement.

    Scandalous revelations involving the Vatican and gay sex have been published by La Repubblica before. In 2010, the newspaper revealed wiretaps and police documents that showed a Vatican chorister and an elite papal usher had been involved with a gay prostitutes ring. Both men were dismissed from their duties, the Telegraph notes.

    La Repubblica’s allegations are only the latest in a string of theories relating to the pope’s sudden departure, which has prompted rampant speculation.

    Benedict himself has further confused matters with his Ash Wednesday homily, in which he referenced vague internal “divisions.”

    “I am thinking in particular of the sins against the unity of the church, of the divisions in the body of the church,” Benedict said, according to the Washington Post.


  3. The argument that Benedict is not responsible for the conduct of his priests is rather tenuous. Benedict has appointed the bishops who run the dioceses, who in turn have appointed the priests in the parishes. There is supposed to be a spiritual link between pope, bishop and priest (actually it is a financial link). Benedict is therefore morally responsible for the conduct of both bishop and priest. Even if it is accepted that he is not directly responsible for the conduct of the priest, he is directly responsible for the conduct of the bishop. Yet no bishop has ever been brought to book or had to face criminal charges in the thousands of sexual abuse cases that have been recorded. At most the exposed and disgraced bishops are relieved of their duties and retired to a monastery — as is going to happen with Benedict himself! — in order to keep them out of the public eye.

    When Benedict as Bishop Ratzinger of Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1982, he had to deal with the case of at least one abusing paedophile priest. He followed the established Church tradition of simply transferring the priest from one parish to another. No disciplinary action was taken and the priest always had access to children and altar boys.

    As Cardinal Ratzinger Benedict was the Prefect of the Inquisition (euphemistically called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith). In this position he had all documentation on sexually abusive priests at least for the period of 1981 to 2005. Yet he did nothing about it though he was obligated to give the records to the police or other civil authority. Therefore he is directly responsible and should be held accountable for withholding evidence of crime(s) in an international court.

    Western governments and Western institutions like the UN are blandly ignoring these charges of child abuse, rape of nuns (in India) and other human rights violations against Benedict and his bishops in various countries. They are showing favouritism to the Vatican as it is a premier Western cultural institution. They are all turning a blind eye to the known criminality and deeply ingrained depravity of the Roman Catholic Church. At most they censor the Vatican Bank for money laundering, but otherwise they accommodate the Church’s numerous and continuing crimes against humanity.

    None of the sexual depravity inherent in the nature of the Church is new. During the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE, where it was decided that Jesus was a god not a prophet by a vote of the assembled bishops, the same bishops would fight each other over dancing boys to entertain themselves at night. Brawling and drunkenness was rampant. The two Libyan bishops who voted against the deification of Jesus were assassinated soon after the Jesus vote was taken.

    There is also the notorious record of the Middle Ages where parish priests were even not allowed to live with their mothers or sisters because they too were fair game for priestly lust.

    Celibacy was written into canon law in 1123 in an attempt to control the licentious activities of nuns and priests and especially bishops and popes. But it is only a Church rule not a part of Christian theology and is therefore ignored or contested by the hundreds of Catholic priests who live with common law wives today.

    The term ‘celibacy’ in Catholic jargon does not mean that the celibate is sexually inactive but only that he or she is unmarried. Therefore religious who take vows of celibacy are not breaking their vows if they are sexually active but remain unmarried.

    But the real problem of sexual abuse is not in the West where it has been exposed, but in here in India where it is rampant in the seminaries and convents and residential schools run by priests and nuns. Both the mainstream media and minority-friendly governments connive at the vast cover-up within the Indian Church. Occasionally there is exposure such as K.B. Shibu’s book Here is the Heart of a Priest and Sister Jesmi’s book Amen: Autobiography of a Nun. But there is never any follow-up and witless Hindu parents continue to send their children to Catholic schools for a ‘good’ education.

    The irony of the Church’s sexual abuse problem is that sex is the original sin in Christian theology. Perhaps if the Church changed it theoretical attitude to sex it wouldn’t have had such a problem with deviant priests and nuns down through the ages.


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