Social Question

ragingloli's avatar

As I am sure you already know, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchins are working to bring criminal charges against the pope for his role in the Church's child molestation affair and to have him arrested on his next visit to the UK in September. What do you think about this?

Asked by ragingloli (35779 points ) April 11th, 2010

I think it is way overdue, and those two men should be commended for it.

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71 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

I think they are trying to sell a few books, and they are willing to traduce the pope’s importance to the hundreds of millions of innocent faithful all over the world to do it. If I had a chance I’d shoot Benedict XXVI in the head, but not for self aggrandizement.

DarkScribe's avatar

For Christ’ sake, why don’t they leave him alone?

(I couldn’t resist…)

mammal's avatar

Completely unrealistic, but the Catholic Church needs dismantling, it’s misdeeds are plentiful and notorious. Hitchens is amusing, interesting and writes beautifully that is all, he is a disaffected socialist, who has switched from pummeling Capitalism to Religion, with similar gusto, i would have thought given his academic background he would appreciate that the root of all religious evil is normally economic or sexual rather than theological. Dawkins writes badly and his arguments are clumsy and unphilosphical. i’m with @dpworkin a bullet in the head would suffice.

dpworkin's avatar

Besides, live like a Nazi, die like a Nazi. He should be slain before he manages to beatify the execrable Holocaust enabler, Pius XXII.

janbb's avatar

@dpworkin Too much coffee? Not enough sleep?

I think it is probably grandstanding on Dawkins and Hitchens’ part, but I think it is important that someone take this out of the Vatican and try to make it a civil, prosecutable issue.

LostInParadise's avatar

I am an atheist, but I disapprove of militant atheism as much as I disapprove of militant religious fanatics. It is not that I disapprove of their actions so much as I question their motives.

Pretty_Lilly's avatar

Yeah !! That’s gonna happened, the Biggest Richest Most Powerful Religion in the planet & two Doofus are gonna take it down !!

wonderingwhy's avatar

Tilting at windmills. He’s a recognized head of state with diplomatic immunity.

Though I’d laugh my ass off if it worked.

aprilsimnel's avatar

It is grandstanding isn’t it? Not quite as elegant as the 95 Theses nailed to the church door, but in a more dramatic age, a more dramatic method needs to be employed. The Catholic Church need to be held civilly accountable for its misdeeds from the top down. There’s a culture of sweeping execrable behaviour under the rug under the guise of not tarnishing the majesty of the Church.

lloydbird's avatar

I, generally, try to hold to the notion that There is no such thing as ‘Evil’ and that there are only different degrees of ‘Wrong’.
But the actions of these child molesters/rapists ( and their protectors) severely challenges
my belief.

chamelopotamus's avatar

They’re either going to make themselves a lot of powerful enemies, get laughed at, or start something important

Fyrius's avatar

On the one hand, I think this is awesome as heck. Two of the greatest and most famous spokesmen of atheism taking on the Vatican? I want to be in the front row with popcorn.

On the other hand, politically speaking, I’m worried about polarisation.
I’m worried that a confrontation like this will make the religious even more hostile towards atheism. I think there are plenty of Catholics starting to doubt their faith, or at least starting to accept that atheists are not evil heathen sinners, but whom an issue like this will only motivate to take the Church’s side if they think it needs to be defended.

Fyrius's avatar

@lloydbird
Why would they? Aren’t they just a very, very high degree of “wrong”?
I think you’re right, there are no real black and white, but certain shades of grey come very close.

lloydbird's avatar

@FyriusWhy would they?” Well, mostly by dint of their having descended from exhaulted positions that are supposed to be occupied by those whom are representative of the very acme of ‘Goodness’/‘Righteousness’ (with the same being applicable to official religionist of any kind) – and sunk, by way of massive betrayals of trust, almost to the very depths of cruelty and depravity. Their actions could only have been worse, had they then murdered the poor unfortunates. And I’m lead to believe that that was the case elsewhere.

…very close.“indeed.

Grisaille's avatar

“What do you think about this?”

‘bout time.

Fyrius's avatar

@lloydbird
Very, very, very dark grey.

Trillian's avatar

@Fyrius Naga’ happen.

Silhouette's avatar

It should be very interesting to watch as the drama unfolds. If I were Dawkins or Hitchins I wouldn’t be holding my breath waiting for results.

Fyrius's avatar

Oh, there will be results, all right.
They may not get the pope to pay for his crimes, but there will be results anyway.

j0ey's avatar

Angry men with too much time on their hands, thats what I think.

Two words…....Publicity Stunt.

although I don’t completely disagree with what they are doing

ragingloli's avatar

@j0ey
Those two are some of the least angry people in the world.

Fyrius's avatar

@janbb
@aprilsimnel
Now that I think about it, your comments about grandstanding might be on to something.

Otherwise I’m wondering why they announce this before the pope touches down on English soil. September is four months away. They could keep it a secret until then, so he can’t evade them.
Of course, the pope chickening out would have its political ramifications too.
Or maybe they think the Vatican might find out about their intentions anyway (god knows what kind of spying agencies they might have), and the only way to keep the pope from nipping the issue in the bud is by making it all happen publicly.

@j0ey
I’d say anyone who cares about the well-being of abused children has an excellent reason to be angry at the pope.

Fyrius's avatar

@ragingloli
Dawkins is a ranter if you ever saw one.

Silhouette's avatar

@Fyrius What do you think is going to happen?

gggritso's avatar

I wouldn’t attribute this to a publicity stunt. Dawkins is quite a famous and popular man. He’s as rational as can be, and very moral. I think he’s above vacuous publicity stunts; he means it.

ragingloli's avatar

@Fyrius
In the videos I have seen with him he alway was so laid back and calm that one could have thought he was on drugs.

Silhouette's avatar

@ragingloli Agreed, the man is as cool as a cucumber.

nikipedia's avatar

Oh, I think this is an excellent thing.

Fyrius's avatar

@Silhouette
I don’t know. But something will.
Like I said, I anticipate more polarisation between religious people and atheists in the western world. Here we have two champions of atheism taking on the final boss of Catholicism. That’s the stuff of world-wide public controversy.

@ragingloli
What would you expect? He’s a civilised man.
By the standards of the internet he has the patience of a saint. By the standards of real-world scientists and intellectuals, well, his sort of serenity is normal, I’d say. You don’t help your cause by losing your patience.
And I do believe he hates irrationality and superstition with quite a passion.

Silhouette's avatar

@Fyrius It certainly is. Even the Catholics who are motivated to take the Church’s side if they think it needs to be defended are going to have a tough time stepping up to the plate due to the specific issue at hand. On the one hand it’s their church, on the other, we are talking about child molestation and who in their right mind is going to defend that.

dpworkin's avatar

I think I can make a pretty long list of indefensible things the Church has done over the centuries. In fact it would take too long to write it all down (Galileo, the Inquisition, the Crusades, just for a quick start) yet still it remains defended.

Silhouette's avatar

—@dpworkin Times have changed a little, maybe today we can expect a little accountability, maybe not. Should be interesting to say the least.

dpworkin's avatar

I wouldn’t count on it. They are as we speak comparing themselves to the victims of antisemitism because of the “campaign” against the Church by the New York Times(!) As if saying what is true is insidious, somehow.

Silhouette's avatar

@dpworkin Oh, no doubt, I won’t be holding my breath.

Fyrius's avatar

@dpworkin
And they aren’t getting away with that unscathed, either.
No, I’m with @Silhouette on this. The crimes they’ve committed in the past, they committed in times when there was no doubt that they could get away with anything, when trying to make them answer for their crimes could get you a one-way ticket to a barbecue where the meat would be you.
Times have changed. Times continue to change. It’s already become acceptable to criticise the Vatican even if you’re a Roman Catholic. Sooner or later they will be judged the same way as everyone else.
If this development is as linear and steady as I think it is, then every new attempt to bring them to justice for something has better circumstances than the previous.

Fred931's avatar

What if he just doesn’t go to the UK in September? Y’know, call in sick or something?

Fyrius's avatar

@Fred931
That would harm the pope’s image too – running away from justice.

Fred931's avatar

Pardon my sarcasm.

Fyrius's avatar

@Fred931
I wasn’t aware you used any…

Mamradpivo's avatar

Good for them. I don’t often like Christopher Hitchens, but this is a great idea. It’ll never work, but it makes me smile.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Makes for a sensational news story, but next time the pope enters England, I bet he doesn’t see the inside of a jail cell.

mammal's avatar

The next book: Dawkins, Hitchens, Atheism & Delusions of Grandeur

Fyrius's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy
I for one think getting him to see the inside of a court room would already make it worthwhile.
If nothing else it would show once and for all that the pope can be held accountable like everyone else and that he can be legally demanded to justify his actions. It would get him off his pedestal of divine invincibility. I for one think that alone would be a real political improvement in the way people see the Vatican that would make it worthwhile.

dpworkin's avatar

@Fyrius Don’t forget: the pope’s no dope.

janbb's avatar

I see it as a positive step in any case, although I think the Church has survived many a crisis by being wily (as @dpworkin points out), and, dare I say, “holier than thou.” I doubt that Hitchens and Dawkins will prevail but it certainly fans the flames, and as I said before, takes the issue more into the public sphere.

janbb's avatar

Just have to chuckle at the idea of us all pontificating here.

dpworkin's avatar

if it weren’t for you, nun of these pun wars would get off the ground

janbb's avatar

Clerically, darlin’

Silhouette's avatar

@mammal The next best seller “The Pope Takes It Up The Tailpipe And Other Children’s Bedtime Stories.”

Fred931's avatar

@Fyrius where have you been for the past… ever? I’m one of the least-funny smartasses on here.

janbb's avatar

Maureen Dowd’s column in the NY Times today is very sharp and very on point.

Silhouette's avatar

@janbb Thanks for the link.

Qingu's avatar

Clearly they both need to be eliminated. “For the good of the universal church.”

JeffVader's avatar

I agree with the concensus…. it’s probably just a publicity stunt…. but it’s worthwhile even if it just further exposes the hypocracy & moral degredation of the Roman Catholic Church.

mattbrowne's avatar

Although I resent Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchins’s general antireligious crusade I support their move in this case. The Pope should indeed get arrested, but he seems to be protected by diplomatic immunity because more than 170 countries, including the UK and US, have diplomatic relations with the Vatican.

janbb's avatar

It’s even more than diplomatic immunity. I read that the Pope can’t really resign because no-one has the authority to accept his resignation! How about “Crimes against Humanity” prosecution in the Hague?

Qingu's avatar

The pope doesn’t have diplomatic immunity so much as absolute authority over a sovereign nation.

mattbrowne's avatar

@janbb – I think the charge should be “Connivance to crimes against humanity including child rape”. As far as I can tell the Pope himself did not undress boys, did not touch their penises and did not rape them. But he clearly knew of priests who did and no one in his church was allowed to report this to the authorities. Bishops who felt uneasy about this cover up strategy were told the Vatican would handle it properly. Nothing to worry about. Many priests were transferred and some had to care for the elderly. After a couple of years a few were transferred again and suddenly had the opportunity of more abuse. That’s the real scandal here. And I’m 99% sure the Pope and other folks in the Vatican knew all this hoping it would remain secret.

Now they keep apologizing to the victims. Not a single apology about their flawed system and errancy. Which also shows the nonsense of inerrancy of a human being.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Qingu – Are you sure?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100401/ts_nm/us_pope_abuse

“Lawyers representing victims of sexual abuse by priests in several cases in the United States have said they would want the pope to testify in an attempt to try to prove the Vatican was negligent. But the pope is protected by diplomatic immunity because more than 170 countries, including the United States, have diplomatic relations with the Vatican. They recognize it as a sovereign state and the pope as its sovereign head.”

Fyrius's avatar

I wonder what would happen if the civilised world would declare war on the Vatican for wilfully impeding internal prosecution of human rights violations.
If the president of France would turn out to be the head of a world-wide organisation that amuses itself with raping children, I bet there would be hell to pay for the French if he isn’t de-presidented before he can say “oh merde”.

Qingu's avatar

Ah, I see. Nevermind; didn’t realize diplomatic immunity applied to heads of state as well.

mattbrowne's avatar

I think the Corps of the Pontifical Swiss Guard would be obliged to defend the “country”. They won’t stand a chance, but what’s next? ISAF-style forces occupying the Vatican? UN resolution demanding free elections?

Iclamae's avatar

At the time it was announced, I was suspicious of their motives.

At this time, having seen the lack of action regarding these cases on the pope’s part, even if the two of them have their own agendas at work, I’m hoping this case will start some action.

also, I still don’t understand why the Vatican should be allowed to provide diplomatic immunity or why it is allowed to have its own army…?

dpworkin's avatar

I wish every civilized country would follow Belgium’s example and treat the Church like the criminal conspiracy it has proven itself to be.

mattbrowne's avatar

“The” Church doesn’t exist.

dpworkin's avatar

I was specifically referring to the Roman Catholic Church, which is why I capitalized it. However, I am always glad to clear things up for you if you need it.

mattbrowne's avatar

Thanks. Yes, the Roman Catholic Church wants to be one church, but even there, you’ve got hundreds of versions and some are not completely bad. The old guys in the Vatican are the problem.

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