Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Debate of the Week: Should the Pope Be Arrested?

Debate of the Week is a weekly feature. Please comment below. Remember to keep it civil. Don't assume anything about the people you disagree with. I will delete any comments that are offensive or veer too far off topic. Thank you in advance.

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!


  1. OK being the Catholic that I am I say yes arrest him. If he was any other person he would be arrested and tried for his cover up. I don't care who it is they should not get away with destroying a child like that. I feel that the pope not taking the blame for this is saying to all the other creeps that do this to children that it is okay as long as you know the right people. I feel that the church has said it is okay by covering what the priest did wrong. IT IS NOT OKAY. This is just like when a celeb does wrong and gets away with it because of who they are. I feel the message is as long as you have money you can get away with anything. And believe me the church has lots of money. The nuns at St Anns and Sacred Heart taught me that God forgives all. I am sorry but I do not think God forgives people for hurting his children. And if they do not face judgement while here on earth I hope they face judgement at the hand of God and he slaps them down.

  2. Right on, Rosanne! I think that anyone who molests, rapes or abuses children should be hanged, regardless of rank or position! If there is sufficient evidence that the pope was involved in a cover-up he should be tried like any other criminal. John Paul's dead so maybe he received his judgement already. On another note...does the pope shit in the woods?

  3. The pope should be arrested, sure, but for the more relevant charge of being key in the Roman Catholic's centuries-old scam to dupe believers into thinking that they need a human administrative layer of corrupt, wealthy, miter-wearing intermediaries to speak to god.

  4. After I made my post I was reading threw some headlines. On AP I found on article titled VATICAN TO BISHOPS: FOLLOW LAW: REPORT SEX ABUSE. It to me is a very interesting article to show the cover up of the church once again. It states that tho the vatican has never told bishops not to report the abuse they now want them to make sure they report it. If they were that concerned with bishops not reporting the abuse then they would have and then removed the bishop from his resposibilities. Just like any other job and do not be fooled a priest, bishop, nun or pope is a job.

  5. I do believe he resists to take action on the numerous cases that may be presented to him frequently. He obviously ignores the terrible problem of abuse which has made countless catholics convert to other religions. Including myself, I'm now a Methodist, although I'm sure the same issues occur come to think of it. But I don't think the claim by a random atheist stating he covered up known instances will be enough to persuade my belief. But if there is some stronger evidence, lock him up. Even the Pope is quite capable of a vicious sin. Either way his is non-involvement is disgraceful and like they say if your not a part of the solution, your part of the problem.

  6. I can't say I've seen enough evidence to call for arresting the pope, but I do think the future viability of the church comes down to how this is handled. Church leaders cannot justify continuing to ignore the situation. Priests cannot brush it off by insisting this is a time to forgive. And church-goers cannot continue to dismiss the facts.

    The time has come for the church to set an example and hold themselves accountable for their sins.

  7. Consider this, Eddie: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100409/ap_on_re_us/us_pope_church_abuse

    This priest had already served probation for tying up and raping two boys and actually called for removal himself after his sentence ended in 1981.

  8. so which way to go with this. let me be up frontand say that i am catholic, recieved some of my education in a catholic school, but as an adult have a more liberal and open mind to life than i think the church would allow me. i am not saying i dont believe in faith, but after seeing and doing some things that many people will never deal with, or experience in life, some of my earlier beliefs may have been skewed.

    with that said, i do not think that the pope, cardinals, priests, rabbis, reverends, or the countless other religious leaders should be exempt from any law of any country.
    as the teachings go, all who take a vow to be church leaders, are just as simple men and woman as all of us are. and without going on too much of a religious rant, in the catholic faith we were brought up to believe that the son of God was tried and convicted of laws set by man. so how can we hold the lords son to our standards, but not ourselves. im not a big fan of double standards, and this is a huge one in my book.

    i do think that the vatican should allow law enforcement better access to investigate reports of abuse when it involves anyone, regardless of title. there should be no hiding behind the doors of a church to avoid investigation.

    one other point to ponder too is this just a catholic problem, or do other religions have leaders that hide behind the sanctuary of religion in order to avoid prosecution. i would be interested to see a rabbi's name emblazed on the times accused of wrongdoing, or breaking news of a protestant reverend drug out of a crack house on cnn.

    i "pray" that the vatican will give a zero tolerance policy to any person who breaks any law, and all other religions, including the jedi, should be up front with law enforcement having juristiction.

  9. I just wonder why the church leaders don't seem to be asking themselves WWJD. Because the guy the church is built upon certainly wouldn't be protecting those who are injuring the most vulnerable in the flock. Those covering it up are as bad if not worse than those committing the actual crimes.
    Of course, if there is clear evidence, he should be arrested. But, more importantly, in my mind, he should be removed as pope and defrocked.
    That this horror now is shown to go to the top is just ruining any credibility the church has. Which, quite frankly, isn't fair. There is corruption in most of American politics, but we don't then say Americans are a bunch of dupes, do we, Mr. Scurry?The leadership of the church isn't about someone having to speak to God on my behalf. I've been speaking to Him quite regularly since I could first form a coherent thought, thank you! AND, despite the hits it's always taken, I -- the fruit of an interfaith marriage -- have seen more open-mindedness from the PEOPLE of the Catholic church than I have from those of many other religions.
    Also, have seen wonderful priests, including the one who officiated at my wedding and made sure -- at his funeral -- this horror that has been happening in the church was addressed. There are others like him. The ones who keep the values of the vow they made, and don't worry about the politics of the church.
    Kind of like the all-too-few political leaders who somehow remember why they first ran, and don't worry about the power.
    For a long time, the church has had some major penance to do. Getting rid of this perv-protecting piece of garbage would be a pretty good first step. And, I do believe (without any intermediary) that it IS what Jesus would do!

  10. This is a fabricated attack on the Catholic Church. It is about gays and the progressive anti Church atheist action groups attempting to bring down the establishment one cornerstone at a time.
    I have to say that although I am not a practicing Catholic they do more good work than bad and they certainly do not have a monopoly on gay rapist as they are found in every category, organization or political party including atheist! I have never heard of, or been approached by, a priest or nun in any inappropriate sexual or other wise, inappropriate manor and for the holier than though atheist secular movement to besmirch the entire church for some gay perverts, is despicable.
    These people who want the Pope investigated are the equivalent of people who would want the President investigated because of teachers having sex with students as the department of education is under the watch of the president and the executive branch! It's as ridiculous as thinking the Pope has a handle on every branch and denomination throughout the world!
    In fact since these were crimes against minors why is it that the president hasn't stepped in to get to the bottom of why these so called gay priests weren't taken out in hand cuffs booked and tried on molestation charges? I think perhaps Eric Holder should be investigated for allowing these crimes to continue and not be investigated and or prosecuted, yea Holder and his Marxist anti Christian Boss.
    Perhaps if people would report these crimes and the police would show up at the Sunday service and take out the Wolf in Shepherds clothing this would stop. I am not in defense of these gay priests but the Pope is not responsible for local police enforcement of the law Holder is, so why keep the focus on the Church when the problem is a local law enforcement issue! Perhaps we need to shut down the public school system as well since we have been getting news that all teachers are now child molesters and rapist! The church did not promote gay pedophile priest or advertise it as a job perk to men who are considering entering the clergy and what about NAMBLA who does just that. No one talks about that one in the secular community at all and why?

  11. arrest him. he's plainly condoning child molestation. by covering for pedophiles you are saying that its ok. the church is not and can not be above the law. this isn't the middle ages where the church WAS law. its total bullshit.

  12. This is such a multifaceted topic, I almost don't know where to begin. First of all, let me just say that I was raised a catholic and spent Kindergarten through fifth grade in St. John's Catholic School in Orange, NJ. I was a good catholic girl for many years until I began to see the hypocrisy within the system. I tried to stay a catholic for many years, but this scandal has completely derailed me. I never felt that the pope was "My" leader, and I never really connected with the whole "Papal authority" stuff, therefore I feel that if there is sufficient evidence to indict this man, then he should be brought to justice. The problem is, who decides?? Who makes the arrest? Where is the trial?

    Another related issue in all this is the antiquated idea that priests take a vow of celibacy. I always thought it strange that my church would have me seek marital guidance from someone who can never experience marriage. I think that aspect of the priesthood is unfathomable and that it in some way exacerbates the problem. Perhaps there'd be fewer instances of sexual misconduct if the priests were allowed to engage in lawful sexual congress.

    Ok, that's my story and I'm stickin to it. =)

  13. Charli, that's off topic, but a good point. My dad, a Jew, never understood that. He would say: "Doesn't the Bible say, 'Go forth and multiply.'" And he said, who would be better to raise children of faith than those willing to give their lives to God.
    My husband, raised a Catholic, has told me he would have considered it if not for that stipulation.
    I don't think it's related, though. Although, I do think that some may be trying to fight their homosexual tendancies by "escaping" into the celibacy of the priesthood. Beyond the child molestation problems, there have been instances of priests becoming involved with one another, or taking advantage of those young -- but legal aged --men training to become priests.
    And, I consider myself a Catholic in faith much more than in religion for the reasons you seem to be saying turned you from the church.

  14. The celibacy question is indeed a bit off topic, but I'm going to go ahead and declare it fair game, as long as it's part of a larger argument related to the main topic. Charli's right: this is a multi-faceted issue, and it can be approached from seemingly endless angles.

    For what it's worth, there is some debate about when celibacy became mandatory: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clerical_celibacy_(Catholic_Church)#Eleventh_century_developments

  15. As an aside, I can't get into the celibacy issue if only because that's what these guys sign up for, though I see how it's inconsistent. Lots of things are.

    My problem with this issue is that since I'm not particularly religious or markedly anti-religious, I get the impression we are all at odds with ourselves over what the Pope is versus what he should be while failing to differentiate between "title" and "individual".
    In an ideal world "The Pope" is someone who, following the example set by the Apostle/Saint Peter, leads the Catholic Church with integrity and strength while forging a path for the future of Catholicism.
    In real life, maybe there is a divide.
    Let's not forget that before Pope Benedict XVI was the Pope, before he told everyone that he didn't really want to be the Pope but would do it if that's what God had planned, and before JP2 totally dissed him after he ratted out that kid-touching Cardinal -- he was by law and no real fault of his own, a Nazi Youth. That's kind of a big deal.

    I'm not at all implying that he's inherently evil for this reason, rather I'd argue that in a formative part of his life he was brought up to understand leadership in a somewhat non-conventional way.
    After all, once you've (maybe or maybe not unwillingly) participated in education led by a regime focused on measures that involved cover ups, lies, and ultimately destruction; I think you might look at it a little differently if/when your boss--someone who you believe takes a position to lead "for good" rather than, you know, "for Nazis"-- puts your complaint at the bottom of the pile and tells you to quit whining.

    So, I mean, call shenanigans all you want, but I don't think he should be arrested. In fact, I don't even think he'd make it through trial because he's in his 80's, has had two strokes and his heart sucks. Besides, if it turns out that it's true Pope John Paul II ignored (then Cardinal) Ratzinger's suggestion for investigation -- what do we do, start digging? C'mon.

    With all due respect, even St. Peter (with all that business of denying Jesus himself, not once but 3 times) got it a little wrong. All the semantics of papal law and diplomatic immunity only serve to move around a lot of paper and waste time while people tangle themselves in their personal ideals of the shoulds versus the should nots.
    If we plan to move forward as humans, religious or not, we can't forget the simple fact that an individual and a title are two very different things. So before we get on Pope Benedict's case for screwing up at work and messing with our opinion of the Papacy we need to take a look on a localized level.
    Just like "we" wouldn't fire the CEO of Applebee's if a bus boy shot a customer; "we" can't immediately seek to arrest the Pope for maybe just doing what he maybe knows and understands is the "right" way to protect the image of his organization while a handful of terrible managers turn a blind eye to the atrocities and child abuses taking place in front of their own eyes and at their own hands. Should he do something to resolve this issue? Absolutely. The problem lies with the fact that he can make all the laws he wants, what he can't make is better people.

    Pope Benedict is not by most means a victim, but still I'd argue that how he, specifically, was brought up plays into this issue. He has a history. Everyone knew that. Doesn't that make it "our" (read: College of Cardinals) bad for putting him in that job (the job he didn't want) in the first place?

  16. There is so much that one can say about this topic. Forgive me (no pun intended)if I repeat something that someone else has already mentioned as I am in a rush to go to bed and have not gotten a chance to read everyone's comments...

    It's extremely difficult not to intertwine secular legal action and religion with a topic as sensitive as this one. I will give my viewpoint from each side separately.

    From a purely secular standpoint, I'm not exactly sure if there is a case to arrest (or at least convict) the pope (putting immunity on the side for now.) In order to be found guilty of a crime against humanity, the crime (i.e. sexual molestation) has to be committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian. I think that it is safe to assume that this was not a systematic attack. Now the question calls to ask of whether this was widespread. The word "widespread" can be a rather ambiguous term especially in this context. The International Tribunal would probably take a look at the totality of the circumstances in determining if this was a "widespread" practice condoned by the church. Given the known facts and assuming for a moment that these allegations are true; considering the long history of his career in the church, I'm not sure if the tribunal would find it to be "widespread."

    Furthermore, to impute liability on a person who did not partake in the alleged molestation and was not in a position to exercise absolute control over the perpetrator at the time would probably go against public policy grounds especially if he reluctantly resisted in accordance with his superiors. I think that it may be a slightly different story if he had knowledge of a priest whom was presently and actively engaging in these disgusting acts even if he was advised to ignore action. However, if more facts arise, then there might be an actual case.

    Now, as a Christian (and I assume most other people regardless of religious affiliation) I do not condone this type of behavior in any way shape or form. It is absolutely disgusting and immoral to do this no matter who you are. However, I do think that STRICTLY from a religious point of view, that anyone that says that the pope should be arrested or prosecuted is essentially passing judgment. Judgment is not for anyone to pass other than for God. Even if someone gets away with a crime/sin here on earth, they will be dealt with accordingly by God. No one is perfect and everyone sins regardless of their affiliation with a particular church. Probably one of the oldest Christian/Catholic dogmas is to forgive others and to ask for forgiveness. Even if the allegations are true, we don't know what happened behind closed doors. He could have repented and been forgiven of his sins. Something like this, the general public would not have the capacity to understand and accept. To conclude from a religious perspective, I think that people should use the pope and other religious authorities for the good that they do to strengthen their own faith instead of worrying about condemning them for the wrongs (big and small) that they all inevitably do in which we don't have any business doing in the first place.

    I do acknowledge the fact that in both my secular and religious point of views that I ultimately concluded that nothing should happen to the pope but I want to assure anyone reading this that I gave my viewpoints as objective as possible while detaching myself from any personal feelings I have about the subject matter.

  17. First, I'd like to thank everyone who's taken the time and energy to comment.

    Second, I feel I might as well weigh in, even though I've resisted until this point since I wanted the debate to take hold without my prodding.

    If that Associated Press story I linked to above is correct, and Benedict's (Ratzinger's) inaction allowed a convicted child molester under his authority to continue to work with and around children, that sounds pretty much like criminal negligence to me.

    And what about the case of the Wisconsin priest who used his unique ability to speak in sign language to molest hundreds of deaf children over decades (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/25/world/europe/25vatican.html)? Here's a snippet from that article:
    "The Wisconsin case (...) is only one of thousands of cases forwarded over decades by bishops to the Vatican office called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, led from 1981 to 2005 by Cardinal Ratzinger. It is still the office that decides whether accused priests should be given full canonical trials and defrocked."

    Thousands. THOUSANDS. If that's not systemic, I don't know what is. Okay, so maybe the "crimes against humanity" charge is a bit much, since it's apparently usually be reserved for monsters who tortured and killed millions under a centralized system. But it's evident that, time and again, Benedict (Ratzinger) was presented with opportunities to at least take some accountability but instead he upheld the status quo of silence. Was he just following John Paul's orders? I thought that defense didn't work, even when the most totalitarian systems were put on trial. And anyway, you don't get the nickname "God's Rottweiler" by simply following orders, you get it by following orders with a savage glee.


  18. ... NOW:

    And no, this isn't like the CEO of Applebee's being held accountable for a bus boy shooting someone. This is like if the CEO of Applebee's didn't fire or report several of his bus boys even after he found out they were fondling customers' kids.

    Clearly, though, Benedict (Ratzinger) isn't the only person to blame, and he shouldn't be the only to face charges. There are all the priests, of course, who covered for their colleagues. There are the pastors and bishops who refused to even report incidents. There are the other cardinals and authority figures in the Vatican hierarchy that either willfully ignored reports or stalled or stifled investigations. The banality of evil courses through the Vatican power structure.

    But it's not just church figures that should bear the brunt of the punishment or public accounting. It extends beyond the church walls. It's all the lay people who knew what was going on in the dark corners of rectories but didn't act because it would embarrass the church or risk their position within it. It's all the law enforcement people who didn't take victims' pleas seriously or investigate cases thoroughly. It's this idea that somehow church figures are above the laws of our towns, our states, our nation. It's the result of hundreds of years of social tradition that allowed the church to get away with many, many horrible things, including the systemic protection of child rapists. Seriously, how long has this been going on?

    Sure, it's unfair to Benedict that he is bearing the sins of the centuries, as he happens to be in power during an age of relative transparency and free-flowing information. He should only be accountable for the crimes that occurred under his watch and with his implied permission. But I really don't pity him in this sense. He may say God chose him to fill this position, but you don't assume power like that unless you want it. He has assumed the mantle of Saint Peter, The Rock, one of the apostles themselves. Benedict chooses to be the vicar of Christ each day. If no legal authority (international or local) has the fortitude to hold him accountable, he should at least be able to do so himself by publicizing all documents and information related to abuse cases and by resigning.

  19. What a debate we have going on here. I still stand by what I said. The pope should face punishment for the cover ups that he had a hand in. So should anyone else involved in the church. Alot of you brought up the fact that the catholics take a vow of celibacy. Maybe that is why there is so much molesting going on. Just about every other religion allows there ministers and such to marry. I don't know it is just a thought. I to was born and raised catholic. I have not attended church since the time that the church told me how much money I had to give at offerings. If anyone is catholic they will remember the envelopes that were given to each person and that is how they tracked what you gave. I also turned my back on the church the day my son was born. When they told me they would not baptise him because I wasn't married in the church. But as soon as my father offered a condsiderable donation he was baptised. But this is getting off the subject. I have gone to other churches (yes my father is rolling over in his grave) and I have found comfort from other religions. But I am sure my father would feel the same if he were here about the church. He was a police officer and sure many horrible things while doing that job including children being molested. The child molesting has been covered up for decades and now it is in the open. The church should face the music just like anyone else. And like I said in an early post we were taught that there is a judgement day in front of god. All of these people (and they are people) will face judgement in front of god.

  20. Rev. John R. Hanlon, convicted in 1994 on two counts of rape and two counts of assault with intent to rape, currently serving three life-sentences and still recognized by the Catholic Church as a priest in good standing and was still receiving church retirement benefits....

  21. it seems as none in the media have ANY understanding of the operation of the church (Even though it is public knowledge), the tremendous changes occurring in the late 70's, or basic "judicial process". I understand it, the ONLY aspect of this case the was initially brought to the CDF was to allow the priest to be married, NOT to deal with any other issues, such as pedophilia. It is not clear exactly WHEN that became an issue for Rome, if it actually WAS at that time! So, apparently, the Pope is being held responsible for something that was the bishop's problem! The media is only making a big deal out of it because they are attacking the Pope! Here we go again!!!

  22. This anti Christian crusade has been going on since its inception. Just remember that we are all humans, and we all make mistakes, but Christ is with his Church, and no evil will ever destroy the Church !!!!!!

  23. Your blind faith in this institution made up by mortal men is what gives them so much power, which occasionally gets abused. I just say, if found guilty by the law, he should take what he deserves, since nobody is above it. Nobody made of flesh is infallible my friend.

  24. To the victims of abuse everywhere, whether perpetrated by Catholic priests, nuns, Protestant/evangelical pastors, Rabbi's, mothers, fathers or any other ill person, please know that the faithful pray for your healing and the graces of God to come to you through your suffering. We also pray that those enslaved to the addiction of abuse come forward as God is all merciful.

    Will allowing priests to marry solve the problems of physical abuse? No. You will end up with a married abuser. Should any abuse be covered up? No. Should abusers be punished for their crimes? Yes. Time will tell what will happen with this scandal.

    It seems that 99% of the Catholic bashing I have read today is due to the ignorance of the public in general with reference to the true traditions and doctrine of the Catholic faith and church. I too was one of these people until I decided to educate myself.

    The Catholic church has been in existence for 2000 years. There is a reason for this. It is as relevant in 2010 as it was when Christ walked as man on this earth. Solid, unified, one faith, one teaching - whether you are in Kansas or Fiji, on Main Street, or in a dirt floor hut - the doctrine taught by the clergy does not change because the direct teaching of Jesus Christ does not change.

    Anyone interested in understanding Catholicism may want to take the time to find out the true teaching of the church. Two sources to start with could be "The Catechism of the Catholic Church" and a web site called "CatholicsComeHomedotorg".

  25. I hope that this Pope will be held legally and morally accountable for his illegal actions concerning the decades long intentional and widespread coverup and secrecy of the molestation of children by clergy and within the church.
    The RCC has claimed it's infallibility as well as the Pope's infallibility since its inception.
    Now we see the truth. Again.
    May the unfortunate suffering of millions of children and people worldwide at the hands of any religion come to light and be laid to rest.

  26. The Catholic Church, among other things, is a business, and needs to be treated as such. A Corporation must be held liable for the acts and omissions of those in its employ.

  27. If any of you people who comment on this would take time to actually read Catholic doctrine, you would understand that the Roman Catholic church does not condone such abuses we are seeing committed. You blame the Catholic Church because of the errors of these corrupt clerics who obviously do not follow the teachings of the Catholic Church. Is there actions wrong? Yes. Has there been some of them covered up? Yes. Is it wrong that it was covered up? Yes. However, all of that has nothing to do with priests being married. There are married people out there every day who commit criminal atrocities against children and woman. It is not the institution, it is the individuals within the institution. Condemning an institution for the actions of an individual is just idiocy, when you can plain as day see that the institutions policies condemn such actions. If you were to follow that policy, you might as well condemn every countries government on this planet, every corporation. Hey, in fact, I bet with that thinking, you could probably find someone you know who committed a crime that you may be found guilty for because you are related. THAT IS JUST INSANE!!!!! The problem with our society is people are not being held accountable for there own personal actions. Instead, we the people want to damn this institution or that institution because what they teach makes us feel like @#$% about ourselves because we do not agree with it. You know, maybe instead of passing judgment on the institution, maybe we can really study the fundamental teachings of what the institution and realize it was the individuals who are at fault. If you own a company and some people who work for you commit inappropriate acts outside your knowledge, how are you to blame? The blame stops where the knowledge of the act stops without reconciling the problem. Common sense people... common sense. Stop letting your emotions control your decisions and USE THE DARN BRAIN IN YOUR HEAD!!!!!!! All you do when you run around screaming such insolent comments of how the Catholic Church is evil because some corrupt individuals conspired to do evil in its name, is make yourselves look ignorant like the town idiot. Blaming the institution does not fix the problem. You are probably the same people who copied other peoples homework as kids instead of doing your own homework or research like you were supposed too.

    Now, one more thought. What if the Catholic Church was to take these matters into their own hands and start condemning these people. Would you then cry that the Church is murdering people. As you can see, the Pope, as well as his faithful bishops, are not going about saying we are better than you. No, they are very humbly saying to the officials, do your investigations as you need to do and let me know the results. You who condemn the church are nothing more than hypocrites. Are you so perfect that you have no faults, no "sins" as the church calls it. Have you never hurt someone physically, emotionally, psychologically. Judge as you so wish to be judged for until we know the full details of the investigation, we do not know where the guilt lies and how deep it sets. Lay people are also just as prone to committing fraud and false accusations to exploit opportunities as the so called religious are prone to commit such actions. Have mercy, and if you are the praying type, pray for the victims to find peace, hope and strength. Also, pray for the sinner to repent of any errors committed, accept the consequences of his actions with humility, and to start walking the path to what is good and holy with a pure and contrite heart. And pray that we as a people may find it in our hearts to forgive those who sin against us, and to find the courage and strength to root out any evils and errors within our own hearts and lives.

  28. The Catholic church is probably the most widespread and corrupt institution in the world, it has had centuries in which to develop its grip on the weak and needy in all societies across the globe. Acts of sadism/brutality/cruelty/abuse, sexual or other, have been evident throughout history. If we are aware and always have been that it is a common occurance then I am positive the pope and every other high ranking church official will also have been aware.It has likely been looked upon as an unspoken perk of the job!
    Investigation and consequent punishment for their crimes must be dealt with by civil law, wherever they occur.
    It is high time the Catholic grip was loosened and that of all other religions and that the only laws we should all adhere to are those of decency, human kindness and the law of the land we live in. Words from a bible/holy book should not be needed to teach us how to behave, we have grown beyond that as a species. All the strife due to religious beliefs and differences would become a thing of the past, millions of lives would be saved and all our coffers would b a great deal fuller.
    Back to the point; yes of course the pope and every other memebr of the Catholic church were aware of their clerical brother's acts of violence and abuse, now they must be investigated and punished. The church is not above the law, any records of written evidence, of which I am sure there will be plenty should be siezed under warrant, even from the Vatican itself, as it would be from any other institution.!!!


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