Richard Dawkins: I will arrest Pope Benedict XVI
What does that article say?
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.
They have commissioned the barrister Geoffrey Robertson and Mark Stephens, a solicitor, to present a justification for legal action.
Dawkins and Hitchens both get accused of being arrogant, but do they actually think they can just get “their people” to walk up to the Pope and arrest him? Surely they’re not thinking that. That would take some chutzpah, no?
Dawkins himself has admitted this is all untrue. (What else would you expect from a newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch, the man who brought you FOX News Channel?)
Needless to say, I did NOT say “I will arrest Pope Benedict XVI” or anything so personally grandiloquent. You have to remember that The Sunday Times is a Murdoch newspaper, and that all newspapers follow the odd custom of entrusting headlines to a sub-editor, not the author of the article itself.
What I DID say to Marc Horne when he telephoned me out of the blue, and I repeat it here, is that I am whole-heartedly behind the initiative by Geoffrey Robertson and Mark Stephens to mount a legal challenge to the Pope’s proposed visit to Britain. Beyond that, I declined to comment to Marc Horme, other than to refer him to my ‘Ratzinger is the Perfect Pope’ article here: http://richarddawkins.net/articles/5341
Here is what really happened. Christopher Hitchens first proposed the legal challenge idea to me on March 14th. I responded enthusiastically, and suggested the name of a high profile human rights lawyer whom I know. I had lost her address, however, and set about tracking her down. Meanwhile, Christopher made the brilliant suggestion of Geoffrey Robertson. He approached him, and Mr Robertson’s subsequent ‘Put the Pope in the Dock’ article in The Guardian shows him to be ideal:
The case is obviously in good hands, with him and Mark Stephens. I am especially intrigued by the proposed challenge to the legality of the Vatican as a sovereign state whose head can claim diplomatic immunity.
Even if the Pope doesn’t end up in the dock, and even if the Vatican doesn’t cancel the visit, I am optimistic that we shall raise public consciousness to the point where the British government will find it very awkward indeed to go ahead with the Pope’s visit, let alone pay for it.
The Pope isn’t going to go away even if he were arrested. If anything, that’d make a lot of people sympathize with him, and that’s not at all what we want.
Everyone should just continue calling for his resignation. This is a man unfit for his position. Even if he didn’t molest any children himself, he knew what was going on and didn’t do enough to stop it. And he’s supposed to be a shining example of moral clarity? Please. He’s a fallible joke.