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Author Topic: Should the Pope be arrested?  (Read 6227 times)

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Offline Brandon

Re: Should the Pope be arrested?
« Reply #50 on: April 17, 2010, 05:57:27 PM »
There's clearly enough evidence linking him to the allegations.  I don't think he should be considered guilty, but he should definitely be tried.  If he was anyone else, he would be.You're twisting facts here Brandon.  You're talking about the number of accusations that turned into convictions, not the number of accusations that were proven false.

Up until now I was under the impression that you and several others were already presuming guilt. If that isn't the case then good. I've been clear that if the evidence shows he was involved in some kind of crime then yes arrest him as a head of state, perform a fair trial, and let justice be done. The pope being arrested and held to the same standard as us isn't what has me pissed off, its the blatant slander and extortion of the catholic church, its priests, and its followers

Just because so many of the accusations did not lead to convictions does not mean that the percentage of false accusations is high.  That could just be a testament to the church's power and influence.  The fact that so few were convicted could very easily mean that they simply did a good job of covering it up.

It's fair to say very few convictions have come of those accusations, that much is true.

If you cant prove it in a court of law then it didn't happen. I don't care what the prosecutors said during the trial, no guilty verdict means no crime took place. By our own code of law the people who were not convicted are innocent

By the way, I can't even find the information you claim is in the previous articles and I've scanned them.

EDIT:  Did some research of my own and found the data.
The 6%, is 6% of 4000 incidents, you completely misquoted the data.  So basically, of the cases that actually made it to court, 65% convicted the priests... very different from the number you were claiming.

EDIT2:  4392 is the total number of incidents.  Only 1021 were reported to the police... that means over 3/4s of the alleged victims didn't even say anything to the police.  I think it's extremely unfair to color them as greedy or trying to ruin someone's reputation in making their claims when they didn't even go to the police.

That is strange because that's the only article I've read over the past day about the subject and I cant seem to find it in there either. I know I got the numbers from somewhere yesterday, it was over 400 accusations and 6% of those leading to convictions or settlements outside of court. As Oniya pointed out to me though, I did screw up the math earlier (it would have been 376 innocent people not 394) but I was in a rush getting ready for a lunch date when I posted that. If I find the article that listed those numbers I quoted Ill be sure to post it




Offline JudeTopic starter

Re: Should the Pope be arrested?
« Reply #51 on: April 17, 2010, 06:07:39 PM »
Up until now I was under the impression that you and several others were already presuming guilt. If that isn't the case then good. I've been clear that if the evidence shows he was involved in some kind of crime then yes arrest him as a head of state, perform a fair trial, and let justice be done. The pope being arrested and held to the same standard as us isn't what has me pissed off, its the blatant slander and extortion of the catholic church, its priests, and its followers
I don't think the Catholic Church's followers did anything wrong at all.  They're the victims here if anything.  My problem is purely with the way the Vatican handles this.  Even if it turns out that all of the negative allegations are true, that does not in any way reflect poorly on Catholics as a whole (in my opinion).  If anything, it makes me sympathize with them.
If you cant prove it in a court of law then it didn't happen. I don't care what the prosecutors said during the trial, no guilty verdict means no crime took place. By our own code of law the people who were not convicted are innocent
Legally, you're right, but the legality has a very high burden of proof to reach a conviction for a reason.  Truth is, even people who are convicted are sometimes innocent, just as people who aren't are sometimes guilty.  It's all a guess really, an approximation.  I do agree however that the Pope could be innocent, and a large number of priests accused could be innocent as well.
That is strange because that's the only article I've read over the past day about the subject and I cant seem to find it in there either. I know I got the numbers from somewhere yesterday, it was over 400 accusations and 6% of those leading to convictions or settlements outside of court. As Oniya pointed out to me though, I did screw up the math earlier (it would have been 376 innocent people not 394) but I was in a rush getting ready for a lunch date when I posted that. If I find the article that listed those numbers I quoted Ill be sure to post it
I've misquoted statistics before, don't worry about it too much.

Here's my position in a nutshell (and perhaps it's something we can both agree on):

We need to find legal experts who are as unbiased as possible (a mixture of people of all faiths including Catholics who are willing to entertain the notion of the Vatican having committed crimes) to review the evidence.  If there is sufficient evidence to bring about charges, I believe the Pope should be arrested and the charges should be brought up.  If there is not sufficient evidence, I don't think any legal action should be taken.

The evidence I've seen so far is pretty damning, I do think it points towards the Pope being involved in some illegal and immoral activities, but I realize that there's also a good chance that he's completely innocent.  What I object to is the shield of papal immunity and legal immunity he's developed.  We should not be afraid to ask the question, is he a criminal that should be arrested, simply because he's the head of a religious movement.  To me, that's the problem.

Offline Brandon

Re: Should the Pope be arrested?
« Reply #52 on: April 17, 2010, 06:46:22 PM »
Legally if you have evidence that exonorates someone of a crime then the Govenor of your state can pardon them. There have been a few cases throughout history (mostly after the discovery of DNA) where someone was pardoned after new evidence came forward.

The same isnt true of guilty people escaping punishment due to the double jeopardy clause in the judicial code.

The focus should be on priests that have escaped trial, or punishments after being convicted in a trial. Once that's done then I would be open to a full investigation into the Vatican's handling of the situations. I dont think any good could come from the Pope's arrest before that happened

Offline Illun

Re: Should the Pope be arrested?
« Reply #53 on: April 17, 2010, 07:44:17 PM »
The people in the initial argument did not mention embarrassing the catholic church either.  You're putting those words in their mouth.
I stated earlier that it was a publicity stunt and why.

Quote
As for the 6% statistic, I discussed earlier why that number is false.  To reiterate:  6% of the total accusations resulted in convictions, around 24% of the total accusations were actually reported to the police to be investigated, enough evidence was found in only 382 cases to bring the Priests accused to trial, and only 252 of those people brought to trial were found guilty.  Meaning that 65% of people who were brought to trial were found guilty.
I'll admit, I skimmed your responses to Brandon. Unfortunately, you edited it into a response to him. Re-read my post, I stated accurately "only 6% of those accused in the US". You're presuming coverup as the cause of others not going to trial. Of the 1021 reported to the police, only 384 had the evidence to be brought to trial, and yet everyone who even was accused in the larger number gets included as "evidence" that this is "widespread".

Quote
Just because they weren't brought to trial doesn't mean they're innocent, especially not when there's evidence of the Catholic Church working conspiratorially to silence victims and protect the church.
Innocent is not the issue. We're talking about due course of law. The accusation is that the Pope circumvented due course of law in a manner which was widespread enough to have constituted a crime against humanity. My point remains, it doesn't fit the definition for a crime against humanity.

Quote
As far as it being as common as what happens in the general population incidence-wise, that's completely immaterial.  It does not matter if child abuse happens more often in the courts or out in the world, no one's been debating that, that isn't related to the discussion whatsoever.  The problem is that the Catholic Church has a habit of covering up the fact that it has happened in the name of preserving their good name to the detriment of the past, present, and future victims.

Plus what threshhold of coverups is OK with you?  Lets assume only 6% of these are true, are you okay with them covering up the 6%?
This is merely an appeal to emotion. My argument was that the Pope should not be arrested because A. it was not a "crime against humanity" by definition and B. the arrest would serve no purpose even if it were just. How I feel about the alleged coverup IS immaterial to the discussion, while the actual number of incidents is NOT immaterial.

Quote
Isn't 1 cover up 1 cover up too much for the supposed "perfect society" housing the mouth-piece for god on earth?
Appeal to ridicule, and not relevant. While I may not respect the Catholic Church or the Pope, the irony of their belief system in relation to the current situation really doesn't affect where he should be arrested or not.

Offline JudeTopic starter

Re: Should the Pope be arrested?
« Reply #54 on: April 17, 2010, 08:09:37 PM »
You've effectively argued that they shouldn't be arrested under crimes against humanity, and I think I agree with you (plus your criticisms of my argument made at the end are fairly effective in the context of that particular law--if we were discussing another however I don't think they would hold any weight), but there's a whole other host of legal issues which it seems that they could be arrested for.

I'm not a legal scholar, so I won't even bother to try and list them and claim which ones would and wouldn't work, but I think if there are grounds for indictment on any issue, they should be indicted.

Then there's the broader question:  if the Pope cannot be found guilty of any particular law, should such a law exist that could catch him?  In other words, if the Pope faces no consequences for his actions, is that unjust?
« Last Edit: April 17, 2010, 08:21:19 PM by Jude »

Offline Illun

Re: Should the Pope be arrested?
« Reply #55 on: April 17, 2010, 08:46:02 PM »
You've effectively argued that they shouldn't be arrested under crimes against humanity, and I think I agree with you (plus your criticisms of my argument made at the end are fairly effective in the context of that particular law--if we were discussing another however I don't think they would hold any weight), but there's a whole other host of legal issues which it seems that they could be arrested for.
But therein lies my point, it's the "crimes against humanity" that doesn't hold weight. The charges he's more likely guilty of require a whole different set of politics which are unlikely to result in his arrest. I don't condone the Pope's actions (alleged and otherwise), but to the question in the topic, my answer is no.

Quote
Then there's the broader question:  if the Pope cannot be found guilty of any particular law, should such a law exist that could catch him?  In other words, if the Pope faces no consequences for his actions, is that unjust?
How many heads of state have been involved in coverups of criminal actions over the years? Pragmatically speaking, such a law would not be enforceable. Instead, I think UN sanctions against the state that committed the crime are realistic and enforceable. You also have to keep in mind that the Pope, as I mentioned before, does not live within the same society we do. Our primary value system in the US, UK and similar nations, puts the life and wellbeing of a human higher than most things. The primary value system of the Pope, however, is to the sanctity and permanency of the Church. By the same token we would arrest him for crimes that harm children when he sets foot on another nation's soil, he could (and in the past, his predecessors have) arrested nearly everyone who was not of the faith. The sovereignty of independent states is what allows us to coexist with other peoples whose core values do not agree with our own, and this happens to be one such instance.

Offline JudeTopic starter

Re: Should the Pope be arrested?
« Reply #56 on: April 17, 2010, 09:01:33 PM »
The Pope denied other nations their sovereignty by meddling in their legal affairs where he had no jurisdictional responsibility or power, that's precisely why their sovereignty shouldn't be respected.  His actions are quite clearly an obstruction of justice (which is illegal around the world I think).  You don't think it'd be fair to take him in on that?

Offline Brandon

Re: Should the Pope be arrested?
« Reply #57 on: April 17, 2010, 09:21:51 PM »
The Pope denied other nations their sovereignty by meddling in their legal affairs where he had no jurisdictional responsibility or power, that's precisely why their sovereignty shouldn't be respected.  His actions are quite clearly an obstruction of justice (which is illegal around the world I think).  You don't think it'd be fair to take him in on that?

Once again, thats presumption of guilt Jude.

Offline Illun

Re: Should the Pope be arrested?
« Reply #58 on: April 17, 2010, 10:30:47 PM »
The Pope denied other nations their sovereignty by meddling in their legal affairs where he had no jurisdictional responsibility or power, that's precisely why their sovereignty shouldn't be respected.  His actions are quite clearly an obstruction of justice (which is illegal around the world I think).  You don't think it'd be fair to take him in on that?

His alleged actions were to A. fail to report the accusations reported to them, and B. move some of the clergy accused. While these are construed under US and other nations laws as obstruction of justice, there is not an international law requiring you to report a crime to another nation's authorities. That does fall under diplomatic immunity. In light of that, his decision to move them to areas where their reputation wasn't tarnished has no relevance.

Before we discuss the fairness of it, consider, is the US required to report Chinese dissidents to the Chinese government?

Offline JudeTopic starter

Re: Should the Pope be arrested?
« Reply #59 on: April 18, 2010, 12:46:16 AM »
I don't condone anything being done unless it goes through the proper channels of legality, of course, I just don't think it's necessary to repeat that every post Brandon.
The Roman Catholic Church is now embroiled in another sex abuse scandal after news broke on Thursday about a priest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who was accused of abusing more than 200 boys at St. Johnís School for the Deaf for more than 20 years.

Bishops Warn Pope of Abuse
According to Vatican documents from the mid-1990s, two Wisconsin bishops had urged then Cardinal Joseph Ratziner, now Pope Benedict XVI, to allow them to pursue a church trial against the priest.  Despite these allegations, Pope Benedict refused to sanction the trial after Reverend Lawrence Murphy, the alleged molester, wrote the Pope and said that he had repented his crimes and that he was sick.

The church simply ordered that the accused priest should not be allowed to give Mass outside of his own diocese. Murphy died in 1998.

Deaf Boys Were Priest's Victims
The priest has now been accused of molesting more than 200 deaf boys at the school from the 1950s until 1974.  Pope Benedict has been defending his position not to remove the priest despite the knowledge of what Murphy had done.

The two Wisconsin bishops had taken their stance to hold the trial against Murphy to try and forestall the present scandal.  They felt that the trial would have gone a long way to subdue parishioners.  Ratzinger's deputy, however, thought that the crimes had happened too long ago and took into account that the priest was sick at the time.

Deaf Boys Targeted in Confessional
Additional documentation from the period shows that many of the assaults started in the confessional.  At least 100 boys were molested this way.  One of the victims, Arthur Budzinski, voiced his opinion that Murphy targeted boys without deaf parents.  Since these parents had trouble communicating with their children, there was less chance of him getting caught.

Back in 2004, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee began mediation with a number of victims and has paid an undisclosed amount of compensation to the victims.  While the church won't release exact amounts, Budzinski has received $80,000.  In total, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has paid close to $30 million to alleged victims of clergy abuse.
That does not fall into what you've said.  Also, there's clearly a difference between political defectors seeking asylum and child molesters.  Not... to mention the Vatican and well, every other Nation in existence.  If it is considered a nation, it is in legalese only, it's clearly different from any other nation in the world.

You don't think it's horribly unjust and wrong that some guy living in Rome was acting, basically, as the judge and jury for a United States Citizen who commuted crimes in the United States?  That's a clear violation of U.S. sovereignty.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2010, 12:53:58 AM by Jude »

Offline Illun

Re: Should the Pope be arrested?
« Reply #60 on: April 18, 2010, 01:08:29 AM »
Also, there's clearly a difference between political defectors seeking asylum and child molesters.  Not... to mention the Vatican and well, every other Nation in existence.  If it is considered a nation, it is in legalese only, it's clearly different from any other nation in the world.
What is the clear difference? You're taking a very nation-centric view of the world when you make a claim of that nature. While in our respective countries, child molesting is a horrible crime, speaking out against the government is treated as such in China. Just because it doesn't agree with our morals does not make it an injustice elsewhere.

Quote
You don't think it's horribly unjust and wrong that some guy living in Rome was acting, basically, as the judge and jury for a United States Citizen who commuted crimes in the United States?  That's a clear violation of U.S. sovereignty.
Read that more carefully, they pursued a church trial and were turned down for that church trial by the Pope. The only thing in what you posted that he did that isn't legal is failing to report it, which wasn't even his responsibility there, it fell to the bishops whom it had been reported to. He didn't even move the priest in that instance.

Offline JudeTopic starter

Re: Should the Pope be arrested?
« Reply #61 on: April 18, 2010, 01:36:56 AM »
So... the Bishops are at fault too.  What's your point?

As far as the China vs. the Vatican thing goes, even in the Vatican's eyes they're not similar to China.  Read early in the posts where the Vatican claimed it is not a state.

EDIT:  I pasted something else early about the Vatican's statehood, here's the relevant material I referenced above (which I did not paste earlier)

Quote from: Wikipedia
Moreover, the Holy See itself, while claiming international legal personality, does not claim to be a State. Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, former Secretary for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, has underlined that we must avoid the temptation of assimilating the Holy See and its international action with that of a State, with their thirst for power. For him, the Holy See is unquestionably a sovereign subject of international law but of a predominantly religious nature.
And it is not merely that the Vatican has failed to report crimes to the authorities throughout the world, which they have, but also that they actively worked to keep their clergymen from being prosecuted when they deserved such.

Helping a priest accused of child molestation relocate is almost the same as aiding a fugitive.  Though I assume you'll just argue that it's no different than political asylum.

Respecting the Vatican's Sovereignty and right to be free of the laws of other countries simply doesn't make sense when you consider the substantial amount of influence they have on other countries through their citizens and parishes.  If the Vatican was actually a state in any practical, real capacity beyond artificial designations set aside by international law, do you truly believe countries throughout the world would let them purchase land in their territory and build government facilities?

If they're going to be allowed that sort of intimate reach into other countries, shouldn't additional responsibilities come with that?

They're in a unique position and regularly abuse their power in the form of mobilizing their followers in foreign countries for their own political motives.  From threatening to refuse to give communion to people who disagree with the Church's stance on issues to telling Africans that HIV is "a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems," he travels the world telling people what to do (often based on misleading or dubious facts).

If he was a secular leader only, do you really think he would be tolerated for very long by world leaders?  He's basically a monarch chosen to rule the Vatican with absolute authority by an oligarchy.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2010, 02:03:34 AM by Jude »

Offline Illun

Re: Should the Pope be arrested?
« Reply #62 on: April 18, 2010, 02:12:00 AM »
So... the Bishops are at fault too.  What's your point?
The Bishops in that article may be in violation of local law by not reporting the accusations, but the Pope is not. He was asked in his former position if they could hold a church trial and he denied the request. There is nothing in the article which claims he said not to tell the local authorities.

Quote
Quote
As far as the China vs. the Vatican thing goes, even in the Vatican's eyes they're not similar to China.  Read early in the posts where the Vatican claimed it is not a state.

EDIT:  I pasted something else early about the Vatican's statehood, here's the relevant material I referenced above (which I did not paste earlier)
Regardless of how the Vatican refers to themselves, they are granted essentially the same rights as a state by the UN. From a legal standpoint, they still retain the same sovereignty.

Quote
And it is not merely that the Vatican has failed to report crimes to the authorities throughout the world, which they have, but also that they actively worked to keep their clergymen from being prosecuted when they deserved such.
Erm...I explicitly mentioned that in what you're responding to.

Quote
Helping a priest accused of child molestation relocate is almost the same as aiding a fugitive.  Though I assume you'll just argue that it's no different than political asylum.
Political asylum is a legal status that is reported and recorded along with the stated purpose. For it to be the same, he would have to have brought these people to Rome and housed them there, not merely shuffled them to other communities. You're also lumping different things into the same pot. Relocation, though, does not prevent prosecution. If the accused were relocated outside the jurisdiction of the authorities over the crime involved, there are extradition processes. If the accused were simply moved to another community, the authorities need only show up and prosecute. Their decision was to save face, not evade prosecution.

Quote
Respecting the Vatican's Sovereignty and right to be free of the laws of other countries simply doesn't make sense when you consider the substantial amount of influence they have on other countries through their citizens and parishes.  If the Vatican was actually a state in any practical, real capacity beyond artificial designations set aside by international law, do you truly believe countries throughout the world would let them purchase land in their territory and build government facilities?
Other governments do this and it's called an embassy. My home state (US variety) operates offices in several foreign nations.

Quote
If they're going to be allowed that sort of intimate reach into other countries, shouldn't additional responsibilities come with that?
The intimate part is that they hold sway over the hearts and minds of so many people, not their legal actions, all of which are paralleled by other countries.

Offline JudeTopic starter

Re: Should the Pope be arrested?
« Reply #63 on: April 18, 2010, 02:16:10 AM »
As far as the Vatican's nationhood goes, where exactly is that stated?  The article I linked to in the beginning explicitly says that the Vatican was not granted nationhood by the UN, it could be wrong, but I'd like to see your source if that is the case.  I realize they were granted observer status, and that implies nationhood, but that's only an implication.

Relocation does not prevent prosecution, but it sure as hell makes it a lot less likely and more difficult to pull off.

Churches and embassies have different rules by far.  They're not the same.  Not to mention there's a lot more churches...

Online Silk

Re: Should the Pope be arrested?
« Reply #64 on: April 18, 2010, 03:30:43 AM »
Personally I do think the main aim of dawkins and hitchens is to go after the abusers... Put it this way

You can either process accusations against the individual priests, working against the catholics churches cover up wasting heck knows how much tax payers money to do it.

OR

You go after the pope and other athority figures in the cover up, get that covered up information released and given to the athorities, and bam you got all the enciminating evidence against each priest that has been abusing from the catholic churches internal investigations. Just one trial, gets them all saves money, manpower and time. Going after the pope in particular means there is no body above who is able to pull any strings or stunts since he is the highest athority. If it was a cardinal or lower chain administration they could be compermised from the inside by threats such as exomunication.

« Last Edit: April 18, 2010, 07:20:23 AM by Silk »

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Re: Should the Pope be arrested?
« Reply #65 on: April 18, 2010, 07:17:09 AM »
The Bishops in that article may be in violation of local law by not reporting the accusations, but the Pope is not. He was asked in his former position if they could hold a church trial and he denied the request. There is nothing in the article which claims he said not to tell the local authorities.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/16/AR2010041601699.html

Quote
CARDINAL CONGRATULATES CONVICTED BISHOP

Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi has said the pope was ready to meet more victims but not under pressure from the media. He could not say if a meeting would take place in Malta.

Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, who at the time headed the Vatican department in charge of priests around the world, told Bishop Pierre Pican of Bayeux-Lisieux he was a model for all bishops for his behavior in the case that shocked France.

The priest, Rev. Rene Bissey, was sentenced to 18 years in jail for sexually abusing 11 boys and Pican got a suspended three-month sentence for not reporting the crimes.

"I congratulate you for not denouncing a priest to the civil administration," Castrillon Hoyos wrote.

"To encourage brothers in the episcopate in this delicate domain, this Congregation will send copies of this letter to all bishops' conferences."

Barbara Dorris of SNAP, a U.S.-based support group for clerical sex abuse victims, described the letter as "one of the most telling and troubling" among many internal Church documents now being published to expose the extent of the abuse crisis.

"In what other institution on this planet does a top official praise a colleague for hiding a criminal from the police?" she asked in a statement.

Spokesman Lombardi raised eyebrows among Vatican watchers by not denying the letter's authenticity and only saying it showed it was right to assign handling of all clerical abuse cases with minors to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger -- now the pope -- in 2001.


Then of course we have the 2001 letter referenced in this story

http://timescolumns.typepad.com/gledhill/2010/03/text-of-letter-showing-rc-child-abuse-subject-to-the-pontifical-secret.html

Please note the name on the bottom of the missive.

He directed the bishops to keep any issues of priestly abuse concealed within the church, under threat of excommunication.

How would you interpret that? An instruction to ensure secular authorities were made aware of abusive priests, or an instruction to keep everything hidden?

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Should the Pope be arrested?
« Reply #66 on: April 18, 2010, 10:56:55 AM »
As far as the Vatican's nationhood goes, where exactly is that stated?  The article I linked to in the beginning explicitly says that the Vatican was not granted nationhood by the UN, it could be wrong, but I'd like to see your source if that is the case.  I realize they were granted observer status, and that implies nationhood, but that's only an implication.

The nationhood of the Vatican has nothing to do with the UN. The determination of nationhood comes from political treaties made between sovereign states. There are a number of nations that operate without the UN's approval and are no less nations because of that. In the case of the Holy See, it has a long standing status as a political and religious entity. The Holy See has a range of treaties with multiple countries and has a recognized seat in several international organizations and observer status in the UN. The Vatican is the city state of the Holy See. It's political independence was granted in the Lateran Treaty between the Holy See and Italy sometime in the early 1900s.

Offline mystictiger

Re: Should the Pope be arrested?
« Reply #67 on: April 18, 2010, 11:26:26 AM »
Although it looks like most of the points I was going to make have already been made, I just want to add this:

Switzerland only joined the UN in 2002. Does that mean it wasn't a state before then?

UN membership means that you've signed a treaty.
You can only sign treaties if you are a state.
If UN membership determines statehood, you have a circular argument.

Offline JudeTopic starter

Re: Should the Pope be arrested?
« Reply #68 on: April 18, 2010, 11:46:41 AM »
Although it looks like most of the points I was going to make have already been made, I just want to add this:

Switzerland only joined the UN in 2002. Does that mean it wasn't a state before then?

UN membership means that you've signed a treaty.
You can only sign treaties if you are a state.
If UN membership determines statehood, you have a circular argument.
No one was arguing that in order to be a state you have to join the UN.  It was simply stated in the original article that the UN hasn't recognized the Vatican as a state.

However, I do see the point about the Vatican being recognized as a sovereign entity.  It's been treated that way by countless reputable nations, so although it certainly doesn't fit many traditional criteria for statehood, it's a lost cause to try and argue that it's not.

The more we discuss this, the less feasible it seems to actually arrest the Pope.  I'm certainly not for breaking of legal conventions and international accords in order to do so, the rule of law is more important (in my estimation).  That does open up another question however, if there's no legal basis for arresting the Pope, what (if anything) should be done to punish the Vatican for their actions?
« Last Edit: April 18, 2010, 11:47:55 AM by Jude »

Offline mystictiger

Re: Should the Pope be arrested?
« Reply #69 on: April 18, 2010, 12:33:34 PM »
The point I was making is that UN recognition of statehood is irrelevent. The UN has no power, no right, no ability to declare something a state or not.

Offline mystictiger

Re: Should the Pope be arrested?
« Reply #70 on: April 18, 2010, 12:38:48 PM »
Damnit. Web-browser keeps posting before I'm ready.

The key treaty here is the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations:
http://untreaty.un.org/cod/avl/ha/vcdr/vcdr.html

You will note that the Holy See has signed it:
http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=III-3&chapter=3&lang=en

None of the other states entered any reservations or denials or 'we don't believe the Holy See is a state'-type objections.

The Pope therefore, as visiting head of state, has diplomatic immunity.

Offline JudeTopic starter

Re: Should the Pope be arrested?
« Reply #71 on: April 18, 2010, 01:06:12 PM »
It may be that there's no legal recourse, that doesn't mean actions can't be taken.  What do you think should be done?

EDIT:  Just to clarify, I'm not asking as if to say the alternative I originally proposed is better.  I think the people arguing that there's no legal precedent to go after the Pope have done an excellent job of doing so, so it's a real question.  I'm not entirely sure what can be done, so I'm wondering if any of you have any ideas on it (you're much better informed than me in this area, so).
« Last Edit: April 18, 2010, 01:16:13 PM by Jude »

Offline Oniya

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Re: Should the Pope be arrested?
« Reply #72 on: April 18, 2010, 02:16:28 PM »
What do we do against other heads of state that engage in similar actions?

(Is honestly not sure that there's a precedent outside of war-time.)

Offline mystictiger

Re: Should the Pope be arrested?
« Reply #73 on: April 18, 2010, 02:55:31 PM »
The problem with trying to turn this into a international criminal law issue is this:

Pope = head of state of the Holy See.
British Paedo priest = British.


The priests aren't nationals of the Holy See. Wanting to arrest the Pope for Crimes Against Humanity is rather like wanting to arrest Queen Elizabeth II for crimes committed by British tourists in the US.

There's a way you deal with this: domestic criminal courts. You send the priest who done it to jail. You then send their superiors in your national church who hid / protected them to jail.

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Re: Should the Pope be arrested?
« Reply #74 on: April 18, 2010, 06:12:03 PM »
Yes, the problem was that rather than those priests being handed over to the courts, they were moved on elsewhere by their superiors, and their victims bribed or coerced into silence. The entire issue is how far up that chain that went ... who made the decision to ignore secular law in favour of church law? Whatever they may think, the law of God does not take precedence over the law of man. Those who took the decision to hide everything beneath a shroud of secrecy, and move abusive priests on to other parishes are probably guilty of some legal offense as a result of that.

I doubt we'll see anyone much higher than a bishop fall on their sword for this. That way the hierarchy can go "It was people that failed, not the system."

Not that anyone really believes anything they have to say anymore, given their behaviour and comments since the latest round of scandals broke.