Pope resigns to escape prosecution: what the butler saw
THE Pope is retiring. Why? The Pope has resigned shortly after he pardons the butler who burgled his home. Coincidence? The Pope said:
In today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.
The scandals have affected the strength of will.
An Open Letter and Appeal to Giorgio Napolitano, President of the Republic of Italy from Rev. Kevin D. Annett, Secretary of the International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State
14 February, 2013
Al Presdente della Repubblica Italiana Giorgio Napolitano
Presidenza della Repubblica
c/o Palazzo del Quirinale
Dear President Napolitano,
On behalf of our Tribunal and people of conscience everywhere, and of the millions of victims of church abuse, I am making an appeal to you regarding your upcoming meeting with Joseph Ratzinger, who will retire soon as Pope Benedict, the Pontiff of the Church of Rome.
Our understanding is that, in the wake of pressure to have him resign his office because of his proven complicity in concealing child trafficking in his church and other crimes against humanity, Joseph Ratzinger is seeking the assistance of the Italian government in securing protection and immunity from legal prosecution.
I need not remind you, Mr. President, that under international law and treaties that have been ratified by Italy, you and your government are forbidden from granting such protection to those like Jospeh Ratzinger who have aided and abetted criminal actions, such as ordering Bishops and Cardinals in America and elsewhere to protect known child rapists among their clergy.
Your obligation to the Vatican through the Lateran Treaties does not negate or nullify the requirements of these higher moral and international laws; nor does it require that you give any protection or immunity to a single individual like Joseph Ratzinger, especially after he has left his papal office.
The need for you to abide by international law and not be seen to collude with Joseph Ratzinger is even more true when one considers the enormity of the crimes of which the Vatican and its highest officials are clearly guilty, according to considerable evidence gathered and documented by our Tribunal and other groups, and acknowledged by many governments.
In Canada alone, the Roman Catholic Church and its Vatican agents have been found guilty of responsibility for genocide and the deaths of at least 50,000 aboriginal child children in the Jesuit-initiated Indian residential school system, that operated until 1996.
In Ireland, more than 10,000 women suffered and were exploited in the Catholic-run Magdalene Laundries, where many of them died. Similar church-run institutions all over the world have caused enormous mortality, disease and ruination for millions of children. And yet the church has never been held accountable or prosecuted for these deaths and the theft of enormous wealth from entire nations.
With the recent initiative of at least one European government and a host of lawyers to bring Joseph Ratzinger and other church officials to trial for these crimes, we feel it is incumbent on you neither to assist nor to be seen to assist or condone the attempt by him to evade, obstruct or delay justice, lest you open yourself to a charge of being an accessory to a crime.
On behalf of our Tribunal and of many people who cannot speak, I call on you to stand on the law of nations and humanity, and offer no support or protection to Joseph Ratzinger or his accessories in their efforts to evade responsibility for their proven crimes.
I look forward to your reply, and to discussing this with you more when I visit your country in May with a human rights delegation to investigate this matter more closely.
Kevin D. Annett, M.A., M.Div.
Secretary, The International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State
Central Office, Brussels
cc: world media
The grandstanding is interesting, but futile.
Alexander Still wonders:
Predictably, for an institution in which one is expected to die in office, there is a long tradition of electing elderly Popes. Ambitious younger cardinals have sometimes pushed the candidacy of this or that septuagenarian in the hopes of occupying the throne of Saint Peter in a few years’ time. Electing a young and vigorous Pope who governs for an entire generation—as in the case of Karol Wojtyla, who was fifty-eight when he became John Paul II—carries a considerable risk: that of allowing a hugely important and highly diverse planetary institution to gradually bear the personal stamp of one man. The election of Benedict XVI, then Joseph Ratzinger, at age seventy-eight expressed a desire for continuing the Wojtyla legacy (since Ratzinger had been one of John Paul II’s key advisers) as well as a wish to avoid another twenty-eight-year papacy. And yet his brief and often controversial reign shows the risks of electing an elderly man more than ten years past the normal age of retirement as Pope.
Seen in this light, Benedict’s decision to step down may suggest an effort at finding a third way. By setting a precedent for papal resignation, it offers the possibility of choosing someone closer to the prime of life who may not need to reign into full senescence.
What the hope is the future brings hope. The guilty must be exposed.
Photo: Bishop Guido Marini holds Pope Benedict XVI’s skull cap during the Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)