Richard Dawkins: I will arrest Pope Benedict XVI

I can’t wait to see how this pans out! Maybe not the best idea to make it public this early, but still an interesting international game of chicken.

RICHARD DAWKINS, the atheist campaigner, is planning a legal ambush to have the Pope arrested during his state visit to Britain “for crimes against humanity”.

Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, the atheist author, have asked human rights lawyers to produce a case for charging Pope Benedict XVI over his alleged cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic church.

The pair believe they can exploit the same legal principle used to arrest Augusto Pinochet, the late Chilean dictator, when he visited Britain in 1998.

The Pope was embroiled in new controversy this weekend over a letter he signed arguing that the “good of the universal church” should be considered against the defrocking of an American priest who committed sex offences against two boys. It was dated 1985, when he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which deals with sex abuse cases.

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Benedict will be in Britain between September 16 and 19, visiting London, Glasgow and Coventry, where he will beatify Cardinal John Henry Newman, the 19th-century theologian.

Dawkins and Hitchens believe the Pope would be unable to claim diplomatic immunity from arrest because, although his tour is categorised as a state visit, he is not the head of a state recognised by the United Nations.

They have commissioned the barrister Geoffrey Robertson and Mark Stephens, a solicitor, to present a justification for legal action.

The lawyers believe they can ask the Crown Prosecution Service to initiate criminal proceedings against the Pope, launch their own civil action against him or refer his case to the International Criminal Court.

Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, said: “This is a man whose first instinct when his priests are caught with their pants down is to cover up the scandal and damn the young victims to silence.”

Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great, said: “This man is not above or outside the law. The institutionalised concealment of child rape is a crime under any law and demands not private ceremonies of repentance or church-funded payoffs, but justice and punishment.

Last year pro-Palestinian activists persuaded a British judge to issue an arrest warrant for Tzipi Livni, the Israeli politician, for offences allegedly committed during the 2008-09 conflict in Gaza. The warrant was withdrawn after Livni cancelled her planned trip to the UK.

“There is every possibility of legal action against the Pope occurring,” said Stephens. “Geoffrey and I have both come to the view that the Vatican is not actually a state in international law. It is not recognised by the UN, it does not have borders that are policed and its relations are not of a full diplomatic nature.”


THIS is why i changed my name.

You covered up a priest’s history of child molestation in the Catholic Church?

Endigm Dawkins
New Romantic

Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 6,826

Bloody good show Dawkins and Hitchens.

The Pope is a man who has personally helped cover up cases of child rape, and has a continued policy of putting the rapists before the victims. That should be an unforgivable criminal offence on anyone’s moral compass, and certainly under the law.

Whether this amounts to anything or not it’s a very important statement: having a title does not put you above the law, and crimes of that nature will not go unpunished.

Douse the handcuffs with holy water blessed by a non molesting priest and let’s see if the Pope bursts into flames.

Why announce it? Just do it for real instead of doing this stupid publicity stunt.

So you had Dawkings in your name before? Can you elaborate to why you think he has “gone off the deep end”? I have only read The God Delusion, and he seemed most of the time rational. Was it after that where he become psycho?

So that the Pope’s crimes are brought to the public’s attention even more, which is exactly what he doesn’t want. And it can hardly be called a publicity stunt if they actually intend to go through with it, which they do.

If Dawkins and Hitchens don’t have a case then this should be a publicity coup for the Pope - it will make his critics look stupid and him an innocent victim of a smear campaign (paraphrasing him there). But I think we both know the evidence doesn’t paint that picture.

Are there really grounds for a legal case against the Pope? It’s my understanding that even the abusers themselves can no longer be prosecuted due to statute of limitations rules.

Endigm Ratzinger
New Romantic

Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 6,826

I usually dislike and disagree with both Dawkins and Hitchens… but in this case, I think they have a valid point. This isn’t about whether or not science can supplant philosophy in the quest for philosophical truths, it’s about whether members of religious organisations should be held to the ordinary, secular standards of justice. I say yes.

Why do people who don’t believe in the existence of the clerical state care who is or isn’t dismissed from it?

They want him tried in a secular court for his personal hand in the institutionalized concealment and protection of child rapists.

Where are you getting the idea they want him dismissed? As you say, they don’t care about that - they want him tried and sentenced.

You sure you want to use those words? Because the clerical state is a very real existing thing.

You see, we atheists deal with real, existing things. Like children. And rapists. And those rapists don’t deserve the choice to punish themselves for their crimes. They sure as shit don’t get to hide behind the status quo, either.

I, for one, think this doesn’t go far enough. The US should immediately order a strike against the Vatican to bring about regime change. Lets get a US friendly Pope on the throne and finally bring democracy to the opressed people of the Vatican. These religious extremists are using their country to provide a safe harbour for wanted child rapists. The US was attacked on its home soil by undercover cells of these child molesting fraudsters, its not the time to be pussy footing around with diplomacy or ‘arrests’. Send their so called ‘bishops’ to Guantanamo Bay while we are at it.

I understand why atheists care about punishment. The priest in question, Stephen Kiesle, was seized by the secular courts, and punished.

I even understand why atheists care about what pastoral ministry these priests receive. Habitual predators must not receive opportunities to commit more crimes, and Kiesle’s bishop failed this task.

But I don’t understand why atheists care how Kiesle’s own petition to receive dispensation from the obligations of the clerical state was handled by the Holy See. Granting it obviously wouldn’t have been a punishment, as Kiesle asked for the dispensation himself, and it would have done nothing to distance him from children.

Do a google image search for swiss guard.

Then ask yourself if any rational person wants to fuck with someone who dresses like that of his own free will.

I really REALLY hope you are conflating philosophy and religion with this post. Science and philosophy haven’t really been at odds for a long time.

Not to mention the fact that to even qualify for the Swiss guard you have to be a badass soldier in the Swiss military. Now, you might laugh since Switzerland hasn’t fought a war in, like, centuries, but you really, really don’t want to fuck with dudes who can fucking bike up the Swiss Alps while wearing body armor and carrying 100 pounds of weapons and ammo.