I use this blog as a soap box to preach (ahem... to talk :-) about subjects that interest me.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The responsibility of the pope

I just finished watching the Australian talk show Q&A (Questions and Answers), in which a panel of five well known people (politicians, intellectuals, journalists, etc.) answers questions asked by the public. One of the panelists, Geoffrey Robertson QC, is known to have suggested that the Pope should be formally held responsible for the abuses of catholic priests against children. During the programme, he was asked to explain why the pope should be held accountable for what he clearly condemns. Obviously, being a lawyer, he answered in a very articulate manner, but one sentence stroke me as being central to his argument, and I feel compelled to report it here. He said: “If you have got the power to stop a crime, you have the duty to do it.”

This is a very compelling statement and, in my opinion, at the heart of the issue. For years the catholic church has been transferring to other dioceses priests who had been accused of abusing children. The fact that the pope recently apologised for the abuses doesn’t cut it. If he really wanted to stop them, he could, right now. He would only need to tell the bishops that any case of suspected abuse should be transferred to the local police. Easy. As long as he will fail to do so, he will make himself a potential accomplice of the crime after the fact.

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