A few of my students have asked me to reply to the absurd assertions of the UN judge,Geoffrey Robertson, and of the dynamic dimwits, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, that when he goes to England this Fall, His Holiness, Benedict XVI, should be arrested and tried for crimes against humanity, for his alleged role in the sex-abuse scandals.
A few things to ponder first.
1. An accusation - any accusation - is tantamount to evidence when it is levelled against the Church, and thus should be considered sufficient evidence for a criminal proceeding.
2. A CEO is directly responsible for every act committed by any of his employees.
I must admit that reading about this impudence roused an anger in me that few things ever do. Part of the problem lay in the comments that were posted by various readers attached under one of the British internet articles. It seemed to be the consensus among those commentators that Benedict needs to be punished for something, since he is a Catholic priest, therefore why not punish him for this? What immediately struck me was that the reaction of American and Canadians would not have looked like this, despite the great anti-clericalism and anti-Catholicism in North America. Britain is a whole different beast. It is fair more socialistic, far more paganized, far more bigoted (I learned that first hand when I went to Britain a decade ago, I was rather shocked. In North America we are embarrassed by our bigotry - not so there, though). So those are the three main influence in Britain's anti-Catholicism: 1) socialism = materialism, anti-religious Marxism 2) paganism = new age (i.e. environmentalism, anti-humanism, anti-family, anti-life), 3) bigotry = Protestantism, esp. British Protestantism - Anglicanism and Scottish Presbyterianism. Admittedly this is a whole mixed bag, but you could see all those factors at work in the posted comments.
Of course he would never do it, but I think these are clear instances of defamation and of threat, and that the Holy Father would have clear grounds to sue those three accusers.
Despite the fact (now universally agreed upon by historians) that Pius XII was a total thorn in Hitler's side, undermining him at every turn, why did Hitler not actually carry out his plan to kidnap Pius? Who knows? But what is certain is that it would not have been to Hitler's advantage, and he, or, more likely, his lackeys, must have known that. It would perhaps have been the one thing that would have knocked a large number of German Catholics - who for the most part could convince themselves that the war and their Catholic faith were not in conflict (like 'pro-choice Catholics' today perhaps!) - from the one side to the other.
So what do you think would happen today if Britain, the EU, or the UN dared to go as far as each of these three pretentious bodies thought they theoretically could? Well, for my part, a regular law-abiding sort of pro-family, pro-duty kind of guy, would suddenly loose my marbles and go off to war against all enemies of the Church. And don't forget, I'm not even remotely crazy. Many Christians are feeling more and more disenfranchised, and if they have been up until now the glue that holds things together, once they are pushed too far, all heck will break loose, you can be sure. If you mess with my family or with my pope, you can be sure that there would be no course of action I would deem too ungentlemanly. Society counts on Christians taking it and taking it. They depend upon us to be the fair, forgiving, work force and tax-resource that makes possible their decadence, the very material cause of our modern technologically advanced state that can fund their free abortions and fat-cat activist judiciary and human rights tribunals. Take the God-fearing, hard-working, pro-family, pro-law, pro-community service Christians away and we'll see what kind of tax-base and work-force remains, made up of selfish, individualistic, unrealistic, hedonistic socialists.
Hitler was stupid, but not as stupid as Dawkins et alia, obviously. They also share a pronounced immorality.That Dawkins would use the sexual abuse of little children as a device to promote his books makes me want to vomit. The victims of sexual abuse that I have come across in this life of mine are a source of great pity and sadness to me. That some self-promoter would use them to advance his own wealth and fame is beyond words. Sure, it is journalists and lawyers that are really fuelling this sex-abuse 'crisis,' and, sure, they are only doing it to make money - lots of money - but at least they are not trying to dress it up as virtue, well, at least the lawyers aren't, or at least no one would believe them if they tried to dress it up that way.
In my mind Geoffrey Robertson, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are the ones guilty of crimes against humanity - in an ascending scale of gravity: defamation of character, incitement of hate against the pope and the Catholic Church and priesthood, the abuse of sexual abuse victims for sake of personal profit. Disgusting.
A Few More Thoughts on This
Let me expand on a few things.
The issue as it pertains to Pope Benedict concerns:
1) His supposed failure to act against pedophiles as a bishop in Germany.
2) His supposed failure to act while he was head of the Doctrinal Congregation (SCDF), which he was during most of JPII's pontificate. There is precious little evident on either score, but it is enough to confuse people who haven't the foggiest idea what some of the terms and processes refer to.
As for (1), there seems to be precious little to suppose he was remiss in this duty. We know of his reputation for strictness and severe application of ecclesiastical penalties. So this accusation is tendentious. How could any one person be cognizant of everything going on in his diocese, when certain functions are deputed to other people? The Toronto diocese, for instance, has a few auxiliary bishops, countless vicars, deans, chancellors, etc., and probably 1000 priests - how can one guy be directly aware of everything going on? Why even have subordinates if one can do everything oneself? How many employees of the U.S. government - a million? Why - because Obama can't do everything. Who would dare assert that the president is responsible for all of their actions?
2) The matter of the 'laicization' of the priest from California, as if not laicizing someone was material or formal cooperation in their crimes. Laicization does not mean punishment, it means to free from the obligations of a state, in this case, the priestly state: the obligation to celibacy, to celebrate mass, to pray the divine office, etc. In other words, laicization is a reward, a privilege, like annulment, for those who seek it. It has absolutely nothing to do with enabling abuse. Ratzinger's (Benedicts's) involvement in that case has nothing to do with making that person's abuse more possible. That priest's diocese had taken away from him all formal ministry. The SCDF's involvement had nothing to do with that. You'll note that when he was punished by the pope, Maciel was not laicized either. It could be argued that in laicizing that offender you let him more easily drop off the radar, thus making his abuses more likely. Imagine if the way the Church worked was that a bishop couldn't stop a priest who was found guilty of sexually abusing children from practicing official ministry in the Church without the pope's or the SCDF's permission! How stupid to they think we are?
The problem with the world is that it's easy to make an accusation, you can make them with almost complete impunity, and they are very hard to prove untrue.
How do you protect yourself?