A movement to arrest Pope Benedict XVI for international crimes against humanity when he arrives in Britain later this year went noisily public yesterday, as celebrity atheist Richard Dawkins denied a report that he personally vowed to make the arrest.
Just as former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was arrested at a London hospital on a Spanish warrant under the novel legal concept of “universal jurisdiction,” lawyers are assembling the case that Pope Benedict could be held on charges of crimes against humanity, specifically child sexual slavery.
The Sunday Times called it a planned “ambush” that could embarrass the British government and force an awkward confrontation with the courts over diplomatic immunity.
Internationally, the Vatican is treated as a sovereign state for many purposes, including the signing of treaties, but its legal status is uncertain, and it sits at the United Nations only as an observer.
On his blog yesterday, Prof. Dawkins denied telling the Sunday Times anything so “personally grandiloquent” as wanting to slap the cuffs on the pontiff himself, but he expressed wholehearted support for the idea, which he credits to fellow deity slayer Christopher Hitchens.
Richard Dawkins is squawking against the errors in the original story that claimed he wanted to personally make the arrest:
Needless to say, I did NOT say “I will arrest Pope Benedict XVI” or anything so personally grandiloquent. You have to remember that The Sunday Times is a Murdoch newspaper, and that all newspapers follow the odd custom of entrusting headlines to a sub-editor, not the author of the article itself.
What I DID say to Marc Horne when he telephoned me out of the blue, and I repeat it here, is that I am whole-heartedly behind the initiative by Geoffrey Robertson and Mark Stephens to mount a legal challenge to the Pope’s proposed visit to Britain. Beyond that, I declined to comment to Marc Horme, other than to refer him to my ‘Ratzinger is the Perfect Pope’ article here: http://richarddawkins.net/articles/5341
At long last, and only by dint of phoning Marc Horne, the reporter himself, I finally managed to get the Sunday Times to notice their libellous headline and so something about it. Implying, as it did, that I was personally planning to ambush the Pope with a pair of handcuffs in my pocket, one might have thought it too absurd to be taken seriously. Nevertheless it was taken seriously and spawned a great deal of vitriolic abuse on the Sunday Times website, which would not have been provoked by Marc Horne’s article itself. The new headline is at least an improvement. (Source)
Did it ever occur to this fool (Psalm 14:1) that just as he has been falsely reported on, the Holy Father too has had false things said about him?
Or is it just atheists that get a fair and reasonable hearing these days?