As always any article tht has something bad to say about the Catholic Church i am totaly interested. and this one is terrific. Personallly I think Hitchens is a bit of a nut, but he hits the nail (ahem) on the head with this article. Maybe one day my dream of a Catholic Church with less political power and less influence will be a reality. Free the masses from its evil influence I say.
I can dream, can't I?
Bring the Pope to Justice
Detain or subpoena the pope for questioning in the child-rape scandal? You must be joking! All right then, try the only alternative formulation: declare the pope to be above and beyond all local and international laws, and immune when it comes to his personal and institutional responsibility for sheltering criminals. The joke there would be on us.
The cause of the Catholic clergy's sex-abuse scandal is no mystery: insular groups of men often do bad things. So why not break up the all-male club?
In my submission, the current scandal passed the point of no return when the
Developments since that time have appalled even the most diehard papal apologists by their rapidity and scale. Not only do we have the letter that Cardinal Ratzinger sent to all Catholic bishops, enjoining them sternly to refer rape and molestation cases exclusively to his office. That would be bad enough in itself, since any person having knowledge of such a crime is legally obliged to report it to the police. But now, from
As this became horribly obvious, I telephoned a distinguished human-rights counsel in
In this instance the church damns itself both ways. It invites our challenge—this is where the appeal to the European Court of Human Rights becomes relevant—to its standing as a state. And it calls attention to the repellent origins of that same state. Currently the Holy See has it both ways. For example, it is exempt from the annual State Department Human Rights Report precisely because it is not considered a state. (It maintains only observer status at the United Nations.) So, if it now does want to claim full statehood, it follows that it should receive the full attention of the State Department for its "lay" policies, and, for that matter, the full attention of the Justice Department as well. (First order of business—why on earth are we not demanding the extradition of Cardinal Law? And why is this grave matter being left to private individuals to pursue?)
It is very difficult to resist the conclusion that this pope does not call for a serious investigation, or demand the removal of those responsible for a consistent pattern of child rape and its concealment, because to do so would be to imply the call for his own indictment. But meanwhile why are we expected to watch passively or wonder idly why the church does not clean its own filthy stable? A case in point: in 2001 Cardinal Castrillón of
Only this past March did the church shamefacedly and reluctantly agree that all child rapists should now be handed over to the civil authorities. Thanks a lot. That was a clear admission that gross illegality, and of the nastiest kind, has been its practice up until now. Euphemisms about sin and repentance are useless. This is a question of crime—organized crime, by the way—and therefore of punishment. Or perhaps you would rather see the shade of Mussolini thrown protectively over the Vicar of Christ? The ancient Roman symbol of the fish is rotting—and rotting from the head.
Hitchens, a NEWSWEEK contributor, is a columnist for Vanity Fair and the author of God Is Not Great.
And so it goes: