Monday, April 12, 2010

Atheists Call for Pope's Arrest

Accusing the Pope covering up clerical sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens want lawyers to build a case for his arrest when he visits Britain later this year to beatify a 19th century British theologian.

-- From "Richard Dawkins calls for arrest of Pope Benedict XVI" by Marc Horne, The Sunday Times of London 4/11/10

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 . . . believe they can exploit the same legal principle used to arrest Augusto Pinochet, the late Chilean dictator, when he visited Britain in 1998.

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.

Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, said: “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.”

Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great, 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."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Activist Atheist Pair Want Pope Arrested" by Patrick Goodenough, CNSNews International Editor 4/12/10

A senior Vatican legal official, Giuseppe Dalla Torre, earlier told an Italian newspaper that the Pope enjoyed diplomatic immunity as head of state. He was responding at the time to calls by some lawyers representing abuse victims, wanting the Pope to testify.

The move in Britain goes much further, seeking to have the head of the Roman Catholic Church appear not just as a witness but as an accused in a criminal or civil case.

“There is every possibility of legal action against the Pope occurring,” Mark Stephens, one of the lawyers hired by the two campaigning atheists, told the Daily Telegraph.

The other lawyer, human rights activist Geoffrey Robertson, earlier this month published an article challenging the Vatican’s claim to sovereignty – and hence immunity for the Pope as head of a sovereign state – noting that while the United Nations afforded the Vatican a unique special status, it has never agreed to granting it membership.

Robertson said the sovereignty/immunity claim could be challenged in British courts and in the European Court of Human Rights.

An alternative course of action would be to go the International Criminal Court (ICC) route, where immunity would provide no protection.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.