Pope Benedict could face lawsuits over Church abuse, says UK-based Australian human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson
* * *
I thank Rick Springer for this link.
* * *
I wonder if Benedict’s retirement check will be enough to cover expenses of a civil lawyer plus victims’ settlement costs [FJD].
* * *
Pope Benedict could face lawsuits over Church abuse, says Robertson
Australian human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson says Pope Benedict XVI could face legal action from victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests following his retirement.
He will still wear the white robes, still be addressed as ‘Your Holiness’ and still live in the Vatican city-State, with a view of the dome of St Peter’s Basilica. But when his retirement becomes official later today Pope Benedict XVI will lose one important entitlement.
As Head of State, Pope Benedict has absolute immunity from legal action. When he becomes ‘Emeritus Pope’ that immunity will wither away, leaving him open to potential legal action.
UK-based Australian human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson predicts “that some victims of priests whom he (Pope Benedict) has refused to defrock, and who have gone on to commit crimes against those victims, may seek to sue him for damages for negligence.”
Mr Robertson made the comments in relation to Pope Benedict’s response to cases of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.
From 1981 to 2005, Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict), was the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican body that is tasked to maintain and defend the integrity of faith and to examine and proscribe false doctrines.
As the Vatican’s Chief Enforcer Robertson says Pope Benedict failed to deal adequately with priests who were accused of sexually abusing children.
In The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse, a 2010 book by Robertson, he suggests Pope Benedict is guilty of protecting paedophiles. He alleges that the church swore victims to secrecy and moved perpetrators who were likely to reoffend to positions within the church where they had access to children.
Robertson believes this constitutes the crime of assisting underage sex, and suggests Cardinal Ratzinger had approved this policy up until to November 2002.
As his time as Head of the Catholic Church nears an end, Robertson has said that Pope Benedict “will be remembered for turning a blind eye to the abuse of over 100,000 young children by paedophile priests.”
Robertson has also recommended that Pope Benedict’s replacement look to the findings of Australia’s Royal Commission into child sexual abuse.
“It may be that the Australian royal commission will recommend a law that prevents a child being confirmed in a religion until they are 14.
“That seems to me a sensible way of reducing the dangers to children. And it is a way the new Pope might even grasp,” said Robertson.
The Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse will submit an interim report is to be 30 June 2014, with the final report expected by December 2015.