Bring the Pope to Justice
By CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS - NEWSWEEK
Updated: Fri, 06 Aug 2010 12:06:27 UTC
Thanks to LWS for the link.
Detain or subpoena the pope for questioning in the child-rape scandal? You must be joking! All right then, try the only alternative formulation: declare the pope to be above and beyond all local and international laws, and immune when it comes to his personal and institutional responsibility for sheltering criminals. The joke there would be on us.
The case for bringing the head of the Catholic hierarchy within the orbit of law is easily enough made. All it involves is the ability to look at a naked emperor and ask the question "Why?" Mentally remove his papal vestments and imagine him in a suit, and Joseph Ratzinger becomes just a Bavarian bureaucrat who has failed in the only task he was ever set—that of damage control. The question started small. In 2002, I happened to be on Hardball With Chris Matthews, discussing what the then attorney general of Massachusetts, Thomas Reilly, had termed a massive cover-up by the church of crimes against children by more than a thousand priests. I asked, why is the man who is prima facie responsible, Cardinal Bernard Law, not being questioned by the forces of law and order? Why is the church allowed to be judge in its own case and enabled in effect to run private courts where gross and evil offenders end up being "forgiven"? This point must have hung in the air a bit, and perhaps lodged in Cardinal Law's own mind, because in December of that year he left Boston just hours before state troopers arrived with a subpoena seeking his grand-jury testimony. Where did he go? To Rome, where he later voted in the election of Pope Benedict XVI and now presides over the beautiful church of Santa Maria Maggiore, as well as several Vatican subcommittees.
Kenneth R. Weiss - LA Times Comments
In the Philippines, access to contraceptives is limited for the most part to those with the means to pay. The Catholic Church has fought a "reproductive health bill" in the legislature that would change that.
- - BBC News Comments
The former butler to Pope Benedict XVI will stand trial for stealing confidential papers and leaking them to the press, a magistrate has ruled.
George Eaton - NewStateman Comments
Archbishop of Glasgow: Labour MP David Cairns died because he was gay
Tom Hennigan - IrishTimes.com Comments
ARGENTINA’S FORMER military dictator said he kept the country’s Catholic hierarchy informed about his regime’s policy of “disappearing” political opponents, and that Catholic leaders offered advice on how to “manage” the policy.
Katherine Stewart - The Guardian Comments
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops in session in Atlanta, Georgia, earlier this month. Photograph: Tami Chappell/Reuters
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