After resigning Pope Benedict XVI will remain in the Vatican to avoid criminal prosecution for his role in the sexual abuse of children by clergy, according to Vatican sources.
Church sources and legal experts say Pope Benedict's decision to live in the Vatican after he resigns will provide him with legal protection from any attempt to prosecute him in connection with sexual abuse cases around the world, according to a report issued by Reuters on Feb. 15.
A Vatican official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said:
"His continued presence in the Vatican is necessary, otherwise he might be defenseless. He wouldn't have his immunity... if he is anywhere else."
Charges against Pope Benedict XVI alleging crimes against humanity have already been initiated at the International Criminal Court. Two German lawyers, Christian Sailer and Gert-Joachim Hetzel from the Pope's home state of Bavaria, have submitted a 16,500-word document indicting the Pope for various crimes against humanity.
The charges allege that Pope Benedict preserved and directed an institution responsible for the coercion, extortion and subjugation of its members. Specific charges include endangering members health by forbidding the use of condoms, as well as enabling and promoting the sexual abuse of children by clergy.
The charges state:
Dr Joseph Ratzinger, as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of his church and as Pope, has up to the present day systematically covered up the sexual abuse of children and youths and protected the perpetrators, thereby aiding and abetting further sexual violence toward young people.
Vatican sources report that after Pope Benedict resigns on Feb. 28, he plans on living in a convent within the Vatican.
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