September 13, 2010

Should the Pope Face Criminal Charges?

Brian Bethune, Maclean's

AP Photo

God in the Dock, meaning God on trial, is a familiar concept in Britain, both from the title of a famous collection of essays by C.S. Lewis and as a general term for skepticism about religious belief and doctrine. But Pope in the Dock? Literally? Perhaps not in our lifetimes, as British lawyer Geoffrey Robertson concedes in The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse, a book set to appear just one week before Benedict XVI makes the first-ever papal state visit to Britain. But, Robertson argues, the once unthinkable idea that Benedict or a successor could be charged with obstructing justice or for “harbouring pedophile priests” is now very thinkable, and—given evolving trends in international human rights law—may soon be practical.

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TAGGED: Pope Benedict XVI, Vatican