Pope Benedict XVI is now being accused of shielding another pedophile priest. Meanwhile, the Vatican says the pope, as a "head of state," is immune from legal action. U.N. judge Geoffrey Robertson says the Vatican's wrong—and that the pope could be tried for systemic sex crimes.
Well may the pope defy “the petty gossip of dominant opinion.” But the Holy See can no longer ignore international law, which now counts the widespread or systematic sexual abuse of children as a crime against humanity. The anomalous claim of the Vatican to be a state—and of the pope to be a head of state, and hence immune from legal action—cannot stand up to scrutiny.
The truly shocking finding of Judge Murphy’s Commission in Ireland, tasked with investigating child sex abuse in Dublin’s archdiocese, was not merely that “sexual abuse was endemic in boys’ institutions,” but that the church hierarchy protected the perpetrators and, despite knowledge of their propensity to reoffend, allowed them to take up new positions teaching other vulnerable children after their victims had been solemnly sworn to secrecy. This, of course, amounted to the criminal offence of aiding and abetting sex with minors.
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