Immunity for Benedict?

Associated Press

VATICAN CITY – Lawyers for Pope Benedict XVI have asked President Bush to declare the pontiff immune from liability in a lawsuit that accuses him of conspiring to cover up the molestation of three boys by a seminarian in Houston, court records show.

The Vatican's embassy in Washington sent a diplomatic memo to the State Department on May 20 requesting the U.S. government grant the pope immunity because he is a head of state, according to a May 26 motion submitted by the pope's lawyers in U.S. District Court for the Southern Division of Texas in Houston.

Joseph Ratzinger is named as a defendant in the lawsuit. Now Benedict XVI, he's accused of conspiring with the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston to cover up the abuse during the mid-1990s. Three boys, identified in court documents as John Doe I, II and III, allege that a Colombian-born seminarian on assignment at St. Francis de Sales church in Houston, Juan Carlos Patino-Arango, molested them in the church in the mid-1990s. Mr. Patino-Arango has been indicted in a criminal case by a Harris County grand jury and is a fugitive from justice, the lawsuit says.

State Department spokeswoman Gerry Keener said Tuesday that the pope already is considered a head of state and has immunity. (End of News Story)

This news completely banishes any hope one might have had of seeing the reform so badly needed by the Roman Catholic Church; at least not under Benedict XVI's watch. The fact that this request was even brought to Washington hints that there is much more to the story than the Vatican wants released.

The Roman Catholic Church is in shambles. I had faint hopes that Ratzinger, because of his conservative, scholarly approach to his religion, might stumble across the ways in which Roman Catholic theology parted ways from its self-professed roots in Augustinian theology. But until the church deals with the sex-abuse issue, it's credibility will remain in the pits. And it should. A church who turns its head while its leaders take advantage of innocent members would is a complete disgrace to the name of Christianity.

Although most protestants would deny that the Roman Catholic Church is preaching the gospel revealed in Scripture, the fallen world system lumps the RCC, the protestant church, and the zany television evangelist in the same boat. There's no wonder the church has a credibility issue.

It's time for the Protestant Church to deal with its issues so that it can stand tall above the counterfeits. Here's one person praying for an authentic Christian Church that is proud to stand as transparent, authentic, real examples of Christ's Body at work on the earth.


Pecadillo said...

Hey Chris, kind of a weird question but if you (by an alarmingly strange and unlikely turn of events) were named the next Pope, what would you choose as your name? I think I'd have to go with Pope Skippy. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that would make me Pope Skippy the First.

Honestly, I'm really enjoying your blog.

Chris Freeland said...

Pope Skippy, huh? Not only would you be Pope Skippy the first, you would be on a fast track to becoming the patron saint of peanut butter. And personally, I'd love to see your profile picture in stained glass.

Thanks for reading. I'll give your question some thought.

Pecadillo said...

Ask and thou shalt receive.