Should the Pope be arrested?
For a moment, let's set aside the question as to whether Pope Benedict XVI should resign from position as the head of the Catholic church. The chances of that happening are nil, as the church would likely never recover from such an admission of moral failure. More compelling is whether or not the Pope should be arrested whenever he sets foot outside the confines of Vatican City.
Christopher Hitchens and Sinead O'Connor (now there's a dynamic duo) are arguing for just that. Their thinking is fairly straight forward: by not reporting the serial crimes of priests, allowing them to continue with their church duties, and, as a result, commit further crimes, Mr. Ratzinger aided and abetted child molesters. It may yet also be shown beyond all reasonable doubt that the Pope knowingly covered up the despicable acts of these men.
Writing today at True/Slant, Matt Taibbi destroys the church defense that, hey, the church wasn't the only place where molestation was prevalent. But by that argument, those accused of abusing and covering up the abuse of children should face precisely the same legal consequences as those who work at public schools or in boy scout troops, etc.
To believe that the Pope should be above the laws of every country on Earth (save for the magical one nestled inside of Rome) when it comes to dealing with those who abuse children relies on the assumption that those who serve the church are exceptional beings, different from normal mortals. Of course, the Pope is but the most extreme case, for he is the one who has been chosen above all others to commune with God.
But before he was anointed Christ's vicar (by that robed jury of his peers), Ratzinger was in charge of deciding what to do with those priests who did harm children. In fact, to hear the church itself tell it, that was no small part of his job description. And so Ratzinger's office was alerted of pedophile priests, but, according to those who worked with the Pope, he never saw those specific memos.
These are serious allegations. But rather than leave journalists and bloggers to make them, why aren't world governments stepping forward to write up an arrest warrant? If the Pope is found innocent, so be it. But why should he be treated any differently that you or I? Why? Because the moral authority of the church is not to be questioned despite all the evidence indicating the serious lack of moral judgment among some members of the establishment.
The Pope is a man, who has made more than a few mistakes in his time, and continues to make them. We must stop this silly nonsense of treating him as though he is incapable of error. As though he and he alone has the authority to say what is right and what is wrong. He is not a God, he's just an ambitious, powerful guy who is squirming at the realization that the world is on to him. Were he a politician, a bus driver, an airline pilot or a janitor who stood accused of knowingly protecting child molesters, he'd have been arrested by now.