The Dying Church.

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on May 26, 2012 in News & Opinion |

It should be no great secret that I have little time for the Church (regardless of which branch you care to name) or for organised religion. I see, as do many others I am sure, so many problems surrounding what one or two people in authority say and do – and this goes for politics too, not just organised religion – when personal interests and a position of power are involved that I question every single comment, decree or demand almost automatically.

The latest news creeping out of the Vatican seems, to me at least, to confirm my suspicions and to bolster my belief that something is wrong in this separate world. The arrest of Paolo Gabriele is merely another incident in a long, long list of things which have come out into the open and which show, practically without a shadow of doubt, that organised religion is corrupt and barely capable of rescue.

Paolo Gabriele is being condemned as a whistleblower, a person who has leaked personal documents to the press – resulting in the publication of a bestselling Italian book recently – on such diverse matters as arguments over the leading lights in the Catholic Church, banking and so on. He will be subject, when I have understood the system correctly, to a private judicial system run by the Catholic Church which operates parallel to that of the Italian civil laws and which cannot be overruled or circumvented.

This Vatican law is the same one which protects priests from prosecution when they have abused children placed in their care, which simply moves them to a new post elsewhere rather than taking real, positive and effective action against them.

I suspect that use of the Vatican’s internal judicial system in this case, since it involves leaking secrets, will be fairly harsh, fairly swift and condemn Paolo Gabriele. In fact, I think it will probably do all those things to Paolo Gabriele that it does not do to priests accused of child abuse.

Why is the Catholic Church – and other major organised religions – entitled to run their own judicial systems? We, the western world, tend to condemn the Sharia as being an out-dated and less than ‘legal’ system of laws stemming from a medieval time and based exclusively on religion. Is it not the same with the Vatican? Isn’t it about time the Vatican, and the others, came under international laws and the laws of the lands in which they operate, in which their employees commit crimes?

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1 Comment

  • Francois says:

    The land in which the Vatican operates is called “Vatican City”, a sovereign state which has its own laws and judicial system, same as any other country.

    Gabriele pleaded guilty to stealing and leaking the private property of Benedict XVI, the head of state and absolute monarch of the Vatican.

    If he had done the same to the President of the United States he would be facing American prosecution: he might be charged with treason (10 to 30 years) or espionage (death penalty).

    As it is, Gabriele will probably be serving his sentence in his home, under (Swiss) guard. He is cooperating with the investigation: the sentence is likely to be relatively light: Benedict wants the masterminds, not the small fry.

    Priests who commit crimes are tried by the tribunal having jurisdiction: in the countries where the crimes were committed, not by the Vatican, and they cannot be protected by the Vatican in any way.

    The Catholic Churches (all 23 of them) share a body of doctrine and acknowledge the bishop of Rome as their supreme pontiff. And that is pretty much all they have in common. The 22 catholic churches that allow married men to be ordained have yet to be suspected of widespread pedophilia or other abuse of children.

    The Roman Catholic Church, the only one which does not allow ordination of married men, well… there seems to be a misunderstanding there as to the definition of “vow of perpetual chastity”. Something that is the spiritual jurisdiction of the Holy See, not the Vatican. Although they appear to coincide, the media rarely understands the difference.

    So, if Father Bonham has his way with the choirboys in Ireland, the US, Canada, France, Brazil… he is tried there and goes to jail there under applicable national criminal law.

    And Benedict will not lift a ruby-ringed finger to protect him because he simply cannot (also because he is the most virulent homophobic Pope of the last 50 years).

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