Pope Benedict XVI has been accused of ignoring cases of child molestation by Catholic priests, resisted taking action on the cases and even covering up some cases. These instances before he was pope and was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Pope John Paul II's top enforcer of doctrine. Reportedly, though, John Paul once ignored Ratzinger's plea to launch a full investigation into a cardinal who was eventually removed due to sex abuse. Some question whether John Paul or Benedict deserve the blame.
Several of the Vatican's critics want international legal action taken against the pope. Leading atheist authors Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, citing the legal principle that resulted in Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet's arrest in 1998, have called for authorities to arrest Benedict when he visits the U.K. for a state visit in September and try the pope for "crimes against humanity":
The Vatican has suggested the pope is immune from prosecution because he is a head of state. But Dawkins and Hitchens insist the pope would be unable to claim diplomatic immunity from arrest because, although his tour is classed as a state visit, he is not the head of a state recognised by the United Nations.Now it's your turn to weigh in. Is there a case to arrest the pope? If there is, would you have the pope arrested? Was Benedict just following John Paul's lead, though? Does that matter? If you think the pope should be arrested, would you stop with him or charge more authority figures in the Vatican hierarchy?
Let the debate begin!