Arrest Pope Ratzinger!

Arrest Pope Ratzinger! April 11, 2010

ATHEIST campaigner Richard Dawkins is planning a legal ambush to have the Pope arrested during his state visit to Britain “for crimes against humanity”.
The Times reports today that Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, the atheist author, have asked human rights lawyers to produce a case for charging Pope Ratzinger over his alleged cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic church.

Richard Dawkins
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.
The Pope was embroiled in new controversy this weekend over a letter he signed arguing that the “good of the universal church” should be considered against the defrocking of an American priest who committed sex offences against two boys. It was dated 1985, when he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which deals with sex abuse cases.
Ratzinger will be in Britain between September 16 and 19, visiting London, Glasgow and Coventry, where he will beatify Cardinal John Henry Newman, the gay 19th-century theologian.
Or maybe not. With hostility mounting by the day against the UK visit, the Vatican might well decide to pack him off to somewhere so far untouched by the Catholic Church’s kiddy-fiddling propensities – like Uranus.
Dawkins and Hitchens believe the Pope would be unable to claim diplomatic immunity from arrest because, although his tour is categorised as a state visit, he is not the head of a state recognised by the United Nations.
They have commissioned the barrister Geoffrey Robertson and Mark Stephens, a solicitor, to present a justification for legal action.
The lawyers believe they can ask the Crown Prosecution Service to initiate criminal proceedings against the Pope, launch their own civil action against him or refer his case to the International Criminal Court.
Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, said:

This is a man whose first instinct when his priests are caught with their pants down is to cover up the scandal and damn the young victims to silence.

Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great, added:

This man is not above or outside the law. The institutionalised concealment of child rape is a crime under any law and demands not private ceremonies of repentance or church-funded payoffs, but justice and punishment.

Last year pro-Palestinian activists persuaded a British judge to issue an arrest warrant for Tzipi Livni, the Israeli politician, for offences allegedly committed during the 2008-09 conflict in Gaza. The warrant was withdrawn after Livni cancelled her planned trip to the UK.
Said Stephens:

There is every possibility of legal action against the Pope occurring. Geoffrey and I have both come to the view that the Vatican is not actually a state in international law. It is not recognised by the UN, it does not have borders that are policed and its relations are not of a full diplomatic nature.

Dawkins’ and Hitchen’s plan comes a day after journalist Johann Hari called for the Pope’s arrest on the BBC’s Dateline London show this week. He said:

The paper trail goes to Ratzinger … The language of mistakes and repentance is wrong. This is a matter of criminal law. We’re talking about an international criminal conspiracy to cover up the rape of children that enabled that rape to go on for a very long period. It’s not enough to say sorry. If you’re sorry, hand yourself over to the police and let them investigate it.

Hari also pointed out that sovereign immunity applies for heads of state. The Vatican was made a state in 1929 by Fascist Italian ruler Benito Mussolini.

I don’t think we should particularly respect Mussolini’s political decisions.

Pope billboard acquires two pandas
Meanwhile, people in Malta, who will have the “pleasure” of hosting Ratzi later this month, are scratching their heads over the addition of two pandas to a billboard advertising the Pope visit. The organising committee was alerted in Friday morning and it plans to erase the images.
Could it be because the black circles around the eyes give the Pontiff a pandalike look?
No, no, no! One commentator has a far better explanation for the grafitti:

The cartoon character “Pedobear” is a renamed version of the 2chan ASCII art character ‘kuma’. In his American incarnation, he is an anthropomorphic bear child predator that is often used within the community to mock contributors showing a sexual interest in under-age girls. Pedobear is one of the most popular memes on non-English imageboards, and is gaining recognition across Europe. Although the meme is apparently unknown in Poland,it has been used as a symbol of pedophilia by Maltese graffiti vandals.

The source is Wikipedia.
Hat tip: Ian B and Robert Stovold, and Name Withheld (for Pedobear)
Update 11.04.2010: Check out how Tom Craven, President of The Catholic League of Australia, has responded to the news. His views have not gone down well, judging from the comments under his defence of Ratzinger.
Update 12.04.2010: All comments have now been expunged. What a surprise!

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  • Janstince

    It’s Sexual Harrassment Panda! Don’t molest little boys or girls, or you’ll make him a sad panda.

  • Jen

    Methinks the Pope will be feeling a bit under the weather come September. Will England redirect the £20 M they would have spent on his visit to science education instead?

  • Ivan

    According to the man himself, posted on his own website, you should be aware that Richard Dawkins has written to the Sunday Times as follows:
    “Needless to say, I did NOT say “I will arrest Pope Benedict XVI” or anything so personally grandiloquent. So all the vicious attacks on me for seeking publicity etc are misplaced. The headline is, in fact, a barefaced lie.
    Marc Horne, the Sunday Times reporter, telephoned me out of the blue and asked whether I was aware of the initiative by Geoffrey Robertson and Mark Stephens to mount a legal challenge to the Pope’s visit. Yes, I said. He asked me if I was in favour of their initiative. Yes, I said, I am strongly in favour of it. Beyond that, I declined to comment to Marc Horne, other than to refer him to my ‘Ratzinger is the Perfect Pope’ article here:
    How the headline writer could go from there to “Richard Dawkins: I will arrest Pope Benedict XVI” is obscure to me.
    The history is as follows. Christopher Hitchens first proposed to me the idea of a legal challenge to the Pope’s visit 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.
    But the Sunday Times headline is a straight lie, and the paper should apologise, both to me and to Marc Horne, the author.”
    Richard Dawkins

  • Har Davids

    This is great news! Let’s hope the judge(s) will be able to overcome their awe (if any) of god’s representative on earth.

  • Broga

    This move had to be made. Anything less leaves the UK stained by this scoundrel’s State Visit, his reverential treatment by a small and deceitful group of politicians, Roman Catholics and oecumenical fellow travellers lacking the courage to speak out against this man. Of course, there will be the usual suspects who will be outraged and will whine and stamp their feet. Included in these will be sections of the BBC with its fantasy that Ratzinger can be sold as a speaker on Thought for the Day as an honoured invitee. They attempt to persuade the far greater numbers who are repelled by the man and his cohorts, including Archbishop Nichols who is already taking legal advice against allegations in The Times, that they speak for the mass of the population.
    The Pinochet comparison – who was an enthusiast for the use of torture – is apposite. We need to make it clear that we do not want him, we are not prepared to see a departing politician agree to spend £20 million of our taxes lauding and protecting him, and some sad interviews with the Catholic Herald (40,000 circulation) are going to lose more votes than the comments will gain. Even RCs don’t want Ratzinger and particularly, of course, the many who, or their friends or relatives, have been the victims of his cover-ups.

  • Broga

    Until recently so much about Ratzinger and Nichols and Sean Cary were assumed not to be “sayable.” And this applies in particular to Ratzinger. The more allegations and critcisms are stated openly and vigorously the faster the phony aura of reverence and “must not critcise” fades. And information and publicity about the Pope’s State Immunity coming from the fascist ally of Hitler, i.e. Mussolini, the more bogus, indeed farcical, it is shown to be. And Ratzinger has had to rely on this bogus protection to save himself.
    The protective aura is fading fast and will continue to do so. A challenge in the Courts, criminal or civil, will make a massive impact. The supine sucking up to tame RCs in interviews in the Catholic Herald, or the utter fantasy about the contribution of Faith (Indoctrination) Schools, by politicians will go rapidly into reverse when these comments are seen to lose votes.
    Politicians do not act on principle, with a few exceptions, but on self interest and that needs votes. They need to know they are taking the wrong route on this one. We do not want Ratzinger here; if he comes we are detrmined that he should not be funded to the tune of £20 million in taxes including those of many atheists; if he is to be foisted on to the UK then let those who want him pay for him. Whatever happens he must face legal action.

  • Let us trust that justice is blind ….sets position and reverence aside and strips off all the glorious vestments to reveal the real RCC.
    Will he have to take off his hat in the court room?
    Will he be permitted to bring his smoking can?
    Should be interesting to see what his response is to…”tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…….so help me god….

  • Broadsword

    I love this. Why is it not in the news? Ratzi and Pedo Bear make a nice couple. If it dares to visit the UK, maybe it should be accompanied by Bungle, Zippy & George.
    Who is paying for this legal challenge to the Poop visiting? If necessary we should all put our hand in our pockets.
    I love the word “scoundrel”
    Makes me want to puff out my chest, affix my monocle and say “Sir, you are a bounder and a cad!”

  • rog

    I think I’ve worked out the root of the legal problems that catholic church has, it’s due to a typographical error – the recruitment material was supposed to read: it would be helpful if potential priests were child papists…..

  • Marcus

    I’ll hold him down, Richard. You get the cuffs on!

  • AngieRS

    Great news. Is there going to be a fighting fund? I could bung a few quid in the pot.

  • Anonymous

    RE: The update – Catholic League article
    The comments are delicious, and now there is a sockpuppet accusation in there by a whiny Bible thumper too. Now we need the dramallama to go with the pedobear 🙂

  • Jen

    Somebody started a Facebook group in support of the pedobear artist – the fan photos are shaping up nicely.

  • David Lawsond

    The comments on the Catholic League article seems to have been closed and removed. Not really surprised.

  • Broga

    I have noticed the lack of comment on dear old Auntie BBC. They dredge up all kinds of dreary stuff in reporting the news in the Newspapers. Now this, which I would have thought was cataclysmic, even although it is big news in The Times, scarcely causes a ripple. What we did hear some time ago was that Ratzinger was being sought to honour the truly dire Thought for the Day with his odious presence.
    My trust in the BBC has taking a severe beating over the years and as for its so called Trust, the reaction of that to the evidence to allow atheists on Thought for the Day said all you need to know. As for the Roman Catholic Top Guy, vastly overpaid, he is proving to be a didaster.
    @broadsword. Glad you liked “scoundrel”. Rather underplays his nefarious shenanigans, I think. But a start.

  • Broadsword
  • Broadsword
  • Pingback: Paedo bears, and now a Hitler-style ‘tache, bode badly for Pope’s Malta trip()

  • Broga

    @ Broadsword. When they are as good as those they are always welcome.
    Thank god (joke) for the internet. Before that the release of news was screwed down so tight Ratzinger would still be presented as a gift to the human race. I heard a trailer on the BBC (British Broadcasting Catholicism) on Sunday that the Church Service was about the Legacy of Mother Theresa. I assume this did not cover her friendship with dictators, vast amounts of money disappearing, her refusal to help women with drugs as “pain is enobling” although she didn’t mind travelling first class.

  • Alex

    Me again.
    Re this article. Richard Dawkins is NOT involved in this. The articles you refer to are incorrect. Mark Stephens, the solicitor has just confirmed this on LBC and the press association is making corrections as I write this.
    It didn’t seem like a thing Dawkins would do.

  • ZombieHunter

    Couldn’t a few of us try to make a citizens arrest?? I’m up for it if anyone else is 😛

  • Broadsword

    Shall I bring the taser?
    I wouldn’t cuff him though, he’d probably think he was back home in his dungeon……
    Hire a Pedo Bear outfit and wear it to make the arrest.

  • rog

    ZombieHunter, Broadsword,
    I’m planning on protesting if he still turns up in the Midlands, but I doubt anyone will get close enough to arrest him without prior police consent.

  • FedupwithR

    I love the pandas and the chan4chan! Yes, thank goodness for the net. Here in France major news channels have kept these events to the minimum and commentaries by leading journalist have assured everyone that the Pope is innocent or any misconduct.

  • ZombieHunter

    i’d like to take part in any protests against the pope when he comes to glasgow however this city has a long history of secterian rivalry between catholics and protestants and if I take part in any protests I don’t want to be stood alongside extremist protestant nutjobs.
    If anybody could point me in the direction of any non secterian protests planned agaisnt the pope in Glasgow that would be greatly appreciated 🙂

  • NeoWolfe

    While Richard Dawkins recognizes the delusion of “god”, he is also a scientist that recognizes that assumptions beyond established science is a mistake.
    An additional mistaken assumption would be to assume that his condemnation of Ratzinger’s criminal behavior in any way alters that position. After everything that has been revealed, we all want the pope behind bars, where he belongs.

  • As a victim of Catholic boarding school where the nuns were sadists and perverts, I think the Pope should keep away from England as I’ll certainly protest.

  • Jen

    @ FedupwithR
    If you ever come back to this page…
    I thought of your comment when I read this:
    “The French government has condemned remarks by a top Vatican official linking the pedophile scandal in the Catholic Church to homosexuality.
    French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero Wednesday said the remarks linking the abuse to homosexuality was “unacceptable.” He said France is committed to the struggle against discrimination and prejudice linked to sexual orientation and gender identity.”
    I don’t know how the French press can continue to be complacent once government figures are so directly involved.

  • It’s about time the abusers are named and shamed. The Vatican City isn’t the Supreme Court therefore the culprits should be brought to book in their different countries by a court of law.
    While the priests are hiding their filthy dirty deeds with God’s little victims I notice very little thought is given to the abused children. They are now coming up with their flock watching porn – what happen before porn hit the screen???
    The RCC can offer free counceling to the affected children.
    It’s about time the priests were allowed to get married and lead a more normal and natural life.
    Catholics are turning to different religions these days and I wonder why?

  • Broadsword

    F Huall
    I don’t think lack of marriage would solve the current paedo crisis in the catholic church. It has been a magnet for unvetted paedophiles for years. Their hierarchy has belatedly taken action even though it has been aware of the problem for ages.

  • I would like to see the 20 million spent on the victims not the judge!!

  • Alan Fitzpatrick

    Funny thing is he’ll visit England but would not come near Ireland.This man is a stain and like a stain needs to be removed not covered up.Hypocrosy, greed, self rightousness and lust=the catholic church.One of the richest ”states” on earth and yet when bad things go down in mostly catholic nations such as natural disasters it tells to keep the faith.I’m sorry but could you please sell some of that gold bullion that you hold in the us fed reserve,uk and switzerland, some of the shareholding in the major corporations and oil companies and put your money where your mouth is for once.Sorry for the spelling mistakes it’s early!:}