Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are back on the offensive, this time against the Catholic Church. Or, more specifically, Pope Benedict XVI, who has been under fire the past month for what he did or didn’t do two decades ago to protect children from abusive priests.
The two authors, leaders of The New Atheists, are investigating whether they can have the pope arrested for crimes against humanity when he visits Britain later this year:
“This is a man whose first instinct when his priests are caught with their pants down is to cover up the scandal and damn the young victims to silence,” Dawkins, who wrote The God Delusion, said.
“This man is not above or outside the law. The institutionalised concealment of child rape is a crime under any law and demands not private ceremonies of repentance or church-funded payoffs, but justice and punishment,” Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great, said.
Their lawyers, barrister Geoffrey Robertson and Mark Stephens, a solicitor, believe they can ask the Crown prosecution Service and that Pope Benedict will not be able to claim diplomatic immunity since he is not the head of a state recognised by the United Nations.
“There is every possibility of legal action against the Pope occurring,” said Stephens.
I doubt it, but I’m sure this effort alone will suffice for Dawkins’ and Hitchens’ goals.
(Hat tip: Holy Weblog!)