From the Times Online: Richard Dawkins: I will arrest Pope Benedict XVI

Geoffrey Robertson, QC

From the Times Online:

Richard Dawkins: I will arrest Pope Benedict XVI

Dawkins and Hitchens work with Australian human rights lawyer, Geoffrey Robertson to mount a case against the Pope.

A Clarification From Richard Dawkins on RDnet:

Comment #478580 by Richard Dawkins on April 11, 2010, 8:48am

Needless to say, I did NOT say “I will arrest Pope Benedict XVI” or anything so personally grandiloquent. You have to remember that The Sunday Times is a Murdoch newspaper, and that all newspapers follow the odd custom of entrusting headlines to a sub-editor, not the author of the article itself.

What I DID say to Marc Horne when he telephoned me out of the

blue, and I repeat it here, is that I am whole-heartedly behind the initiative by Geoffrey Robertson and Mark Stephens to mount a legal challenge to the Pope’s proposed visit to Britain. Beyond that, I declined to comment to Marc Horne, other than to refer him to my ‘Ratzinger is the Perfect Pope’ article here.

Here is what really happened. Christopher Hitchens first proposed the legal challenge idea to me on March 14th. I responded enthusiastically, and suggested the name of a high profile human rights lawyer whom I know. I had lost her address, however, and set about tracking her down. Meanwhile, Christopher made the brilliant suggestion of Geoffrey Robertson. He approached him, and Mr Robertson’s subsequent
‘Put the Pope in the Dock’ article in The Guardian shows him to be ideal:

The case is obviously in good hands, with him and Mark Stephens. I am especially intrigued by the proposed challenge to the legality of the Vatican as a sovereign state whose head can claim diplomatic immunity.
Even if the Pope doesn’t end up in the dock, and even if the Vatican doesn’t cancel the visit, I am optimistic that we shall raise public consciousness to the point where the British government will find it very awkward indeed to go ahead with the Pope’s visit, let alone pay for it.


And from Allison Kilkenny in The Case for Arresting the Pope:

… Here is Robertson outlining the specific charges.

The ICC Statute definition of a crime against humanity includes rape and sexual slavery and other similarly inhumane acts causing harm to mental or physical health, committed against civilians on a widespread or systematic scale, if condoned by a government or a de facto authority. It has been held to cover the recruitment of children as soldiers or sex slaves. If acts of sexual abuse by priests are not isolated or sporadic, but part of a wide practice both known to and unpunished by their de facto authority then they fall within the temporal jurisdiction of the ICC – if that practice continued after July 2002, when the court was established.

According to the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the total number of priests with allegations of abuse in the college’s survey is 4,392 for the period 1950-2002 (and not counting allegations that were withdrawn). Approximately one-third of all allegations were reported in 2002-2003, which falls within the window after the creation of the ICC.”

[Read full article …]

Meanwhile, ‘back at the ranch’ ….Michael Ruse of the Huffington Post admits: The Catholic Church: Why Richard Dawkins Was Right and I Was Wrong

… I do now think that as presently constituted the Catholic Church is corrupt and should be eradicated.

You might argue that this is to go too far. But what is the alternative? Vatican Three perhaps? The Church could open its doors to married priests, give women a proper role — if we can appoint a woman to the Supreme Court why cannot a woman become a member of the College of Cardinals? — make a place within for gays and other minorities. It could recognize birth control for the blessing that it is, stop insisting that the moment the sperm gets to the ovum nothing else matters but to preserve this entity, even though such a stand causes unnumbered cases of pain and sadness (and certainly does little to reduce the abortion rate) and leads the Catholic bishops to oppose universal health care, quite apart from the fact that it all flies in the face of the official philosophy of the Church, Thomism. And I could continue.

This will not happen …. hope of change is illusory …” [Read full article …]


Interested in reading more about secular education or the Catholic Church?  Here are some books that might interest you.

The War for Children’s Minds by Stephen Law

The Purple Economy: Supernatural Charities, Tax and the State by Max Wallace

Church Schools and Public Money by Edd Doerr and Albert J. Menendez

Higher Education Under Fire by Michael Berube and Cary Nelson

Roman Catholicism and Modern Science: A History by Don O’Leary

In God’s Name by David Yallop

The Last Pope by Luis Miguel Rocha

All available from our favourite purveyor of science books and philosophy books – Embiggen Books.

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