RSS
Can atheists arrest the Pope?
Two respected British atheists plan to arrest Pope Benedict for "crimes against humanity." A legitimate threat or just grandstanding?
 
Pope Benedict XVI.
Pope Benedict XVI.
Getty

Two prominent intellectual atheists are mounting a "legal ambush" to have Pope Benedict XVI arrested for "crimes against humanity" during his proposed 4-day September state visit to Britain. Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, and author Christopher Hitchens — with help from human rights lawyers — plan to employ the same legal principle (universal jurisdiction) that British authorities used to arrest the late Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998. (Meanwhile, more than 10,000 people have signed a petition protesting the cost of the pope's visits.) Do Dawkins and Hitchens have a case, or are they just using the abuse scandal to bash religion?

Dawkins and Hitchens are anti-religion zealots: "To suggest the Pope is somehow responsible for any abuse is baseless and wrong," says Tom Craven in The Catholic League of Australia's website. Both Dawkins and Hitchens have a history of of putting bigotry, specifically their hatred of Catholics, "ahead of judgment." Remember "it was Hitchens who wrote a non referenced essay attacking Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mother Teresa and labeling her ‘a whore’."
"Dawkins and Hitchens: Arrest the Pope"

Sorry. There's a case to be made to arrest the Pope: Pope Benedict, in his years as an influential cardinal, must have known there were child rapists in the church, says Allison Kilkenny in True/Slant. If child rape was widespread and "unpunished" in the Catholic Church, and "the Pope had direct involvement in harboring criminals," he could be just as open to arrest by the International Criminal Court, without diplomatic immunity, as Augusto Pinochet was for torture under his regime.
"The case for arresting the Pope"

It won't happen, so drop it: Richard Dawkins is just plain "loopy," says Damian Thompson in Britain's Telegraph. Plenty of bishops covered up for pedophile priests, but Pope Benedict wasn't one of them, and the recent flood of "very badly researched anti-Benedict stories" won't change that. "Listen, no one is going to arrest the Pope, so can we drop the fantasizing, please?"
"Catholics may just have to sit out this anti-Papal media frenzy"

.....................................

SEE MORE OPINION BRIEFS ON THIS TOPIC:

Has the pope no choice but to resign?
Pope's apology: Too little, too late?
Time to let priests have sex?

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week