The Pope's unholy alliance with the dictator
By NICK COHEN - GUARDIAN.CO.UK
Added: Tue, 18 Jan 2011 03:49:57 UTC
Thanks to LWS for the link.
Alexander Lukashenko, still president of Belarus thanks to a rigged election, has found an ally in the Vatican
Scandal is too mild a term to describe the abuse of children at the hands Roman Catholic priests. But whatever word you fix on – "atrocity", "obscenity", I can't find the right one – you cannot doubt that rape was all about power, as the feminists of the 1970s once said. The power of the old to groom and force themselves on the young was complemented by the power of the Vatican to protect rapists from justice and cover up their crimes.
If the church believed its own doctrine, one might have expected the papacy to show a smidgen of contrition and to seek repentance. After presiding as Cardinal Ratzinger over a parallel justice system in which there was one law for his church and another for everyone else, however, Pope Benedict XVI is showing that he will forgive his own sins but learn nothing from them.
It is not too hyperbolic to say that the dictatorship of Alexander Lukashenko is raping Belarus. From the moment crowds gathered in Minsk to protest about last month's rigged elections, secret policemen have been forcing themselves on their victims. They have arrested and assaulted hundreds, jailed seven of the nine opposition candidates for the presidency and beaten unconscious one of them, Vladimir Neklyayev, as they dragged him from a hospital where he might have found sanctuary.
In a tribute to the tactics of the communists, Lukashenko is threatening to send the children of dissidents to orphanages – his own form of child abuse. After the authorities tried to pick up Danil Sannikov, the three-year-old son of the jailed opposition leader Andrei Sannikov, a local political analyst explained that "by using children they are able to get their opponents to confess, to capitulate politically, to appear on state television and make a repentant speech".
Or as the boy's grandmother put it as she clung to the child: "The terrible Stalinist times are returning to Belarus. I can't believe that this is really happening."
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
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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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