Sunday, April 11, 2010


The famous atheist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has launched a rather absurdist "public conspiracy" to arrest the Pope during his upcoming visit to Britain. Dawkins believes ( or maybe not) that the Pope can be charged under the same sort of international law that led to the arrest of ex-dictator of Chile Augusto Pinochet when he visited Britain. Personally I think this is a publicity grab. Not that I don't think that Pope Rottweiler is guilty, guilty, guilty,guilty beyond measure. It would strain credibility to imagine that in all his years as head of the Holy Inquisition where all such charges end up that he was not involved in dozens and dozens of cover-ups. Still, from a purely legalistic point of view, the sort of crimes that Ratzinger is guilty of have never figured in any international court proceeding before. Thus I have my doubts. Still this is one more drop of vinegar in Ratzinger's upcoming visit. Here's the story from the Times of London.

Richard Dawkins:
I will arrest Pope Benedict
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.

The pair 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 and Hitchens believe the Pope would be unable to claim diplomatic immunity from arrest because, although his tour is categorised as a state visit, he is not the head of a state recognised by the United Nations.

They have commissioned the barrister Geoffrey Robertson and Mark Stephens, a solicitor, to present a justification for legal action.

The lawyers believe they can ask the Crown Prosecution Service to initiate criminal proceedings against the Pope, launch their own civil action against him or refer his case to the International Criminal Court.

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."

Last year pro-Palestinian activists persuaded a British judge to issue an arrest warrant for Tzipi Livni, the Israeli politician, for offences allegedly committed during the 2008-09 conflict in Gaza. The warrant was withdrawn after Livni cancelled her planned trip to the UK.

“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.”


Werner said...

Arrest the pope? That would be neat. Think of all the whining that would bring not to mention heart attacks by the faithful.

Werner said...

Also check "Arrest the Pope" on facebook. lots of cartoons.