Monday, April 5, 2010

Arrest the Pope, Try Him in the Hague?

At the end of March Bad Lawyer asked whether Pope Bendict XVI should be arrested and prosecuted at the International Criminal Court of Justice.  Since that time (certainly not in response to anything said on this blawg), a chorus of voices have risen seriously arguing for and against just such a process.  The Sunday New York Times featured another brilliant column by Maureen Dowd on the subject. Separately, Geoffrey Robertson, QC at the International Court of Criminal Justice writing at the Daily Beast has penned a powerful polemic making this case and dismissing the Pope's apologists and their arguments that as head of state of the Vatican the Pope is "immune," from international justice.

Almost from the beginning of the Father Porter era circa 1992, in Boston--I have argued that if the leadership of your public schools (or your hospitals, corporations, Boy Scouts) had been caught molesting and covering up sex crimes against children, heads would roll, perpetrators would be prosecuted and administrators at the top would be in jail.   That is what we have worldwide with the Catholic Church, and we now have striking evidence that Pope John Paul II's own "rottweiler" the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who was so obsessed with doctrinal purity that no deviation from orthodoxy went unprosecuted--recklessly and foolishly enabled priest sex abuse in Germany and throughout the Church worldwide.

The most repulsive defender of the Church in the face of every wave of the scandal is William Donohue of the Catholic League.  Donohue is one of these flacks like Wayne LaPierre of the NRA (who in the face of every school massacre is trotted out to defend the 2d amendment right to bear arms;--Saddam Hussein had a guy like this too, who was all over Cable News proclaiming the glorious triumphs of Saddam's forces, literally as US tanks were rolling into Baghdad, these are the type of people) who will say ANYTHING logical or not.  Donohue is the Church's media barking dog sent out to defend the Pope and the Vatican leadership.

Ever since Judge Murphy's commission in Ireland, Donohue who is a sociology professor and a Heritage Foundation member, has been on all the cable channels.  Donohue's spurious defense advanced on Larry King Live is that seductive "post-pubescent" homosexuals are the cause of the Church's miseries (watch Sinead O'Connor humiliate this ass--with an honest question.)  Leaving aside the absurdity of this claim, and Donohue's fuzzy notion of what is a "post-pubescent," this argument was advanced fifteen years ago when Church leaders were saying the permissive and homosexuals in the US were the reason behind the spate of revelations that were then coming to light. Yeah, here, in America we have kinky swinging homosexual priests and altar boys unlike the conservative and pious parishes all over the rest of Christendom.

The new argument which is as offensive as this "horny post pubescent homosexual"-rant, is that Catholics are being treated like jews during the years leading up to the holocaust!  Dowd disposes of this dissimulation, I don't need to.

If Benedict XVI truly wanted to change the Church, he could.  He could confess its crimes against children and families, he could throw open the secret archival files maintained on molesting priests and he could begin the Church anew.  This would require a paradigm shift in the Church's relationship with the faithful, and a genuine transcendence and a TRANSFORMATION.  Like Jesus Christ, a crucifixion and a resurrection--there is precedent.


  1. Seeing the expression "paradigm shift" in this context brought tears to my eyes. A reference to "core competencies" and "enabling environment" would have also been in order.

  2. Thank you for your comment. There is so much powerful writing on this subject. Lawyers, here, in OurTown connect me with the effort to establish the fact of this record of abuse. In the mensroom this morning two Cathoic lawyer friends were engaging me on the subject--at least, the sickening spectacle has broken down denial among this phalanx of graduates of Catholic high schools, and parishoners who "back in the day," inquired how I could sleep at night having made the accusations I made and filed the lawsuits that I filed.