In Did Child Sex Scandals End a Papacy?, I outlined a long list of evidential information regarding child sex abuse scandals within the Catholic Church specifically related to being under the jurisdiction of then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger/soon-to-be-ex-Pope Bendedict XVI.
The information painted a twisted, sordid trail and seeming cover-up all the way to his desk.
Some claimed it was an interesting ‘conspiracy’ theory, however, as of February 14th, a new report has emerged out of the Vatican that Pope Benedict is seeking immunity from the Italian government from prosecution for complicity in those child sex abuse cases and more.
AllVoices.com reports that the International Tribunal Into Crimes of Church and State cites a letter directed to the Italian President Giorgio Napolitano referencing the Pope’s scheduled meeting with him set for February 23, 2013 where he will formally request protection from prosecution and immunity for what the ITCCS calls “his proven complicity in concealing child trafficking in his church and other crimes against humanity”. (Read full letter here)
Child rape by a member of the Catholic clergy is no laughing matter despite the outrageous number of jokes that have permeated society about pedophile priests. With the unprecedented number of charges against the church that exploded in 2010, and the many reports and recent documentary film from Alex Gibney that aired February 4th on the subject of the Vatican’s cover up of these cases (Mea Maxima Culpa), the reason of ill health given by the pope to the world for abdicating his office as Bishop of Rome now seems circumspect.
These are the facts: 135,000 children are sexually abused each year (those that are reported). More than 90% of juvenile sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator in some way. Approximately five children die each day as a result of abuse or neglect. (Childhelp.org). In 2010, a Bishop’s report showed 426 victims of sexual abuse by priests. In 2004, that number was higher; 889 victims. These sex abuse cases have cost the church around $80 million in the “treatment” of approximately 2000 pedophile priests and $2 billion in the settling of cases. That is a high number of sexual abuse cases (and these are only the ones reported), and a large amount of cash settlements for something the church claims, through its silence on the matter, is not a problem.
The questions arise as to why the pope would seek immunity from prosecution if he is innocent of the crime of concealing, and aiding and abetting sexual abuse cases by priests in the church? This is also not the first time Ratzinger has sought immunity from prosecution for complicity in child sexual charges by Catholic clergy. In 2005, he sought immunity from prosecution from the US government for a case in Texas that named Pope Benedict as a defendant who conspired to cover up the molestation of three young boys by a Seminarian. He was granted that immunity as “Head of State of the Holy See”; because the Vatican enjoys statehood as its own little country, the pope is seen to have diplomatic immunity. Once he steps down, he will no longer enjoy that perk.
The ITCCS reminds the Italian president that under International Law and Treaties, he is forbidden to grant such immunity. They have threatened to occupy the Vatican in protest and even launch an investigation into human rights abuses with the Italian government if immunity is granted to Pope Benedict.
The larger point here is that no man should be above the law, especially regarding ongoing global criminal sexual abuse of children. No bank is too big to fail, and no man should be too ‘great’ or ‘holy” to prosecute.
The church has an opportunity to come clean and show, possibly for the first time, that protecting the rights and lives of children of the faith are more important than that of the reputation of the church.
Holding one’s breath is not advised, but that does not mean that as a global community we should not speak out. As adults, we are the custodians entrusted with protecting our children. Arm them with information so that they may know a good touch from a bad touch. (Read “Good Touch, Bad Touch: Teaching children the difference” by Jennifer McLeod.) Talk to them so they feel comfortable telling you when someone has violated their person or tried to violate their person. Be vigilant and know who your child is associating with, and pay attention to changes in his/her behavior or personality. Signs of Child Sexual Abuse – Livestrong.com
Finally, don’t shy away from doing what is right, even if that means prosecuting a priest or someone you used to trust.
Follow me on Facebook and TWITTER (@MGwynnExaminer)!
M. Gwynn has authored two books, Harvest and The Cat Who Wanted to be a Reindeer on Amazon.com .
All articles by Michele Gwynn are under copyright and cannot be re-posted whole without written consent by the author. Partial re-posting with a link back to the original article is permitted. For consent, questions, or comments, email email@example.com.
Did you like this article? You can receive the next one directly into your email by clicking "SUBSCRIBE" at the top of the page.