Posted by Falak Rahman
theguardian: Jonathan Freedland.
As an ex-pope, Benedict will no longer enjoy the sovereign immunity available to heads of state. A prosecution is possible – but only in theory. Who would hand him over? Certainly not the Italian authorities. For all that, despite his age and the reverence of the office he soon vacates, he should answer for his actions. Not only in the next life, but here and now.
We should not let Benedict XVI go quietly. One hesitates to say so, because he is elderly and frail and, much more importantly, because he is revered by many millions. Outsiders should tread warily, mindful that the papacy is central to Catholics’ faith, even to their very identity. We ought to signal from the start that we mean no attack on Catholics or their beliefs when we say that the departing occupant of that high office has a moral, if not legal, case to answer. But such a case there is.
The heart of the matter is the rape and abuse of children by Catholic priests. The child abuse scandal in the Catholic church has spread to some 65 countries, with victims estimated to be in the many thousands:one survivors’ group has 12,000 members, each with a heartbreaking story to tell. There will be many more victims who have stayed silent. Few would deny that this is the greatest single moral issue confronting the church.