Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Faith, BLESSED NEWMAN, prayers, Christ-CRUCIFIX never protected children and can never bring justice to victims of John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army

Benedict XVI Ratzinger, God’s Rottweiler is barking and mauling people’s minds again – by doing what he does best – that is pointing attention away from his own personal guilt and personal crime and the Vatican’s own accountability – by laying the blame on the Devil -- and by putting the entire burden upon Christ suffering on the Cross. In Rome at the spectacular closing ceremony for the Year for Priests, he blamed all the sins of pedophile priests on the Devil. See Benedict XVI and Eve: affiliation with the Devil In England he laid all the suffering of victims of the John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army upon the Crucifix of Christ in the majestic setting of Westminster.

The 1.2 billion Catholics in England and around the world are so blind because they cannot see that John Paul II beatified and canonized more than 1,500 dead persons during his entire 26 years papacy but not once did he defrock a pedophile priest and not once did he try to protect children and not once did he try to bring justice to the victims of his John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army. John Paul II protected countless pedophile priests and perpetuated priestly-sodomy of Biblical Proportions and therefore he does not deserve to be called Blessed or Saint by children in this generation and all generations to come. See our related articles below.

Pope and Mammon Vatican Bank are protected by Heads of State

Benedict XVI in England was saying in essence – “Christ suffered so must you, his sacrifice will bring healing to you all, so screw you all tens of thousands of victims of Priestly Sodomy of Biblical Proportions – you are not even 1% of the 1.2 billion Catholics who worship me the Pope, God and Mammon Vatican Bank. Catholics worship me through candle vigils and the sorcery of Christ’s flesh in the Mass. The Roman Catholic Church has gotten away with all kinds of crimes against humanity for two millennium and this most recent one of the 20th century – of the John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army – will soon be dust in history. Can’t you see that - like the Princes and wealthy Royalty of the Medieval Ages - the papal trillion dollars Vatican Bank is owned by all these politicians and millionaires in every country I go to – and therefore – I and all Popes will always have political immunity -- and the support of Heads of State like David Cameron who said: ‘As you, your Holiness, have said, faith is not a problem for legislators to solve, but rather a vital part of our national conversation. And we are proud of that.’”

This is how the criminal-Ratzinger-who-is-above-the-law was praised by Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron: "You have really challenged the whole country to sit up and think, and that can only be a good thing," he added. It had been an honour to have the pope in Britain, said Cameron. "Your Holiness, your presence here has been a great honour for our country. Now you are leaving us – and I hope with strong memories.” Imagine that, what the Vatican Bank money can buy – praises and lies -- for the corrupt Pope Benedict XVI. What a pack of lies David Cameron said: "You have really challenged the whole country to sit up and think”…Sit up and think -- what exactly? -- that this Catholic Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II have led the most heinous crimes against Catholic children in the history of Christendom and that they can get away with it with “faith” and words-of-baloneys by political Prime Ministers, Presidents, Kings and Queens over and over again? the new book written by Benedict was released to coincide with his visit to England and the prefaces were written by Kings and Heads of States.

“Pontiff told prime minister in farewell speech that his four-day visit had brought Britain and the Vatican closer together”. This means that Britain’s multi-millionaires’ investments in the Vatican Bank are made more secure by Benedict XVI’s visit.

The essence of all papal visits such as Benedict XVI’s in Britain is that, Heads of States support and protect the Pope in order to protect and perpetuate their own and their wealthy cronies’ multi-million dollars investments in the (corrupt) Vatican Bank. They continue to suppress all 1.2 billion Catholic and all countries to be little blind followers of this fictitious political Vatican State. Benedict XVI’s main hidden message is: Now run along now, go pray to another saint, Blessed Henry Newman and forget all those victims of the John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army – because soon I will beatify and canonize John Paul II, my Holy Father, to be beside his Mystical Bride St. Josemaria Escriva”. See the John Paul II Millstone – the mystical wedding

The Crucifix of Christ NEVER protected children from sodomizer-priests

Benedict XVI drew attention away from his personal guilt and personal crime when he personally aiding and abetting pedophile priests and in the cover-up of the John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army for over a quarter of a century -- by saying ;” the power of Christ's grace, his sacrifice of reconciliation, will bring deep healing and peace to their lives.” There are many crucifixes in every Catholic Church for crying out loud and none of those crucifixes protected children from the thousands of pedophile priests. The same demonic hands of priests consecrated the so-called Body of Christ in daily Masses and at the same time -- they satiated their own pedophile lusts especially with altar boys – before and after the Sacrament of the Eucharist – in the confessionals and in the rectories and in every venues their priestly penises and sodomy hands could get their hands on. The reality of the John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army -- cannot be emphasized enough -- because like the spectacular ceremony of the beatification of Cardinal Newman, Pope John Paul II is next in line to be beatified and canonized at a spectacular ceremony at the Vatican – at the alarming speed faster than the Opus Dei founder St. Josemaria Escriva. See the real reasons why Opus Dei covered-up the John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army.

Pope Benedict is oh so GAY

See our related article "Benedict XVI and Georg his GAY Private Secretary are GAYS.!."

UTV news reported that “Despite his exhausting schedule, the 83-year-old pontiff did not appear tired as he was handed his glasses by his personal secretary, "Gorgeous" Georg Gänswein. He stood up to deliver his final address, which commented on the "challenges" posed the by multiculturalism he had witnessed on his whistlestop tour of the country.” How can Benedict XVI be exhausted in any trip? His own Mystical Bride is the young 30 years younger "Gorgeous" Georg Gänswein – who alone has the GAY privilege to bath the Pope naked each night... And since no one else sees them, perhaps they bath together at the Vatican Roman bath. Such a handsome man to satiate Benedict XVI’s papal Holy See eyes!! Oh la la! GAYS know who GAYS are and Italian GAYS know best that "Gorgeous" Georg is GAY and Benedict XVI walk, act and speak oh so GAY . There is nothing “manly” in any of the mannerism of Benedict XVI -- he is not a man and he does not have a single fibre of integrity in him as he is the most-criminal of Popes next to John Paul II. Benedict XVI is heartless, callous and has no moral conscience whatsoever because he is a pathological liar about “sorrow and remorse”. Who can believe that he expresses authentic “sorrow” when he is having the time of his life and enjoying a daily feast? Guilty people are rotting in jail while guilty-Pope Ratzinger is having a party every day at the Vatican and wherever he goes such as in Britain.

Blessed Newman was GAY

Church 'has long blessed gays'

Mr Bray's findings were first released in a lecture at Newman House in Dublin last month and Mr Bray published an extract of his talk in The Tablet magazine this week. His book, The Friend, is out next year.

He described the "spiritual" relationship between Cardinal John Henry Newman, the 19th century Catholic theologian, and his friend Ambrose St John who are buried together.

Their names are on a cross in the burial ground of the fathers of St Philip Neri on the Lickey Hills, south of Birmingham.

Cardinal Newman, who died in 1890, said of his relationship with Ambrose: "From the first he loved me with an intensity of love which was unaccountable."

After Ambrose died in 1875, the Cardinal described how the two men had embraced on his death bed. "I have ever thought no bereavement was equal to that of a husband's or a wife's but I feel it difficult to believe that any can be greater, or any one's sorrow greater, than mine."

John L. Allen Jr - The Papal Pied Piper is the highest paid journalist on the planet

John L. Allen Jr of All Things Catholic of NCR – is paid by the Vatican trillion dollar Bank. In all of his articles, he media-spins for the Pope and the Vatican so that no matter how grievous their crimes against humanity are, people who read his NCR columns come out deceived and ‘feeling-good’ about the Catholic Church . For his contemporary times, John L. Allen Jr mission is to make Benedict XVI and the Vatican always coming out smelling like roses no matter how grievous were their crimes in their aiding and abetting and cover-up of the John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army for more than 26 years. That's over a quarter of a century of papal crimes.

Compare the CRIMES and their VICTIMS in America

Victims - Attackers - Responsible Leader

Pearl Harbor - 3,000 victims - 170 planes - Admiral Yamamoto
WTC & 9/11 attacks - 5,000 victims - 19 Muslims - Osama bin Laden

USA Priest Pedophilia - 12,000 victims - 6,000 priests - Vatican Trinity: John Paul II, Benedict XVI & Opus Dei

See our related articles:

The Vatican is not a Country as other European Countries. It’s an artificial State created by Mussolini in 1929. It now wants power in European Union

Benedict XVI condemns abuse of children by priests 3 DECADES LATE…Cardinal Ratzinger Pope B16 is a pathological liar

Reasons why priest pedophilia is eternal: John Paul II the Great “Saint”, “The Conscience” of the ‘Age of Benedict XVI’, “Holy Father” Marcial Maciel

Benedict XVI asks for ‘quickie forgiveness’ from “little ones” who were battered for years by ‘Priestly Sodomy of Biblical Proportions’

John Paul II did not have the charity of Mother Teresa

Benedict XVI and Jon Sobrino, God's Rottweiler voracious appetite for the Jesuits, Jon Sobrino and Liberation Theology

The Roman Catholic Church is no longer « Holy ». All Catholic churches, sacristies, rectories are not «holy» but potential priestly pedophile places

Vaticano Spa (Vatican Ltd): John Paul II was the CEO of the trillion dollar Vatican Bank’s murky financial dealings

Spiritual healing, the Eucharist and the Rosary bring NEITHER JUSTICE NOR SAFETY FOR CHILDREN, the preys of the John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army

Catholics can emulate Jews [who hunted down Nazi officers] by hunting down pedophile priests’ officers Benedict XVI & Bishops into the World Court

St. Josemaria Escriva, John Paul II & Benedict XVI: the new Vatican Trinity

Who’s responsible & to blame: The Devil or Benedict XVI-Cardinal Ratzinger? Satan as scapegoat for Vatican's chaotic sex scandals

Apology is not enough; Benedict XVI & Cardinals and Bishops who covered-them up must spend jail time and pay million$$$ of Euro to victims

Benedict XVI is now a RATzinger lost in the Vatican sex scandal maze with nowhere to run

John L. Allen Jr the Pied Piper of Benedict XVI toots “Will Ratzinger's past trump Benedict's present?”

‘Forgiveness’ is a gizmo of injustice to victims of the John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army. To Vaticanista chiesa.espresso Sandro Magister, Baloney!

Sins and crimes are not synonymous. Sinners and criminals are not one and the same

Theology and John Paul II are heartless and together they made the immoral Fr. Marcial Maciel thrive

In the Crucifix of Westminster, the Pope Sees the Suffering of Those Children


The complete text of the homily at the cathedral of London, with a touching tribute to the victims of sexual abuse. "In the life of the Church, in her trials and tribulations, Christ continues to be in agony until the end of the world"

by Benedict XVI

Dear Friends in Christ,

I greet all of you with joy in the Lord and I thank you for your warm reception. I am grateful to Archbishop Nichols for his words of welcome on your behalf. Truly, in this meeting of the Successor of Peter and the faithful of Britain, "heart speaks unto heart" as we rejoice in the love of Christ and in our common profession of the Catholic faith which comes to us from the Apostles. I am especially happy that our meeting takes place in this Cathedral dedicated to the Most Precious Blood, which is the sign of God’s redemptive mercy poured out upon the world through the passion, death and resurrection of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. In a particular way I greet the Archbishop of Canterbury, who honours us by his presence.

The visitor to this Cathedral cannot fail to be struck by the great crucifix dominating the nave, which portrays Christ’s body, crushed by suffering, overwhelmed by sorrow, the innocent victim whose death has reconciled us with the Father and given us a share in the very life of God. The Lord’s outstretched arms seem to embrace this entire church, lifting up to the Father all the ranks of the faithful who gather around the altar of the Eucharistic sacrifice and share in its fruits.

The crucified Lord stands above and before us as the source of our life and salvation, "the high priest of the good things to come", as the author of the Letter to the Hebrews calls him in today’s first reading (Heb 9:11).

Victims faced 'immense suffering': Pope

Sydney Morning Herald

Pope Benedict XVI expressed his "deep sorrow" Saturday for the "immense suffering" of children abused by Catholic priests, in a homily on the third day of his state visit to Britain.

"I think of the immense suffering caused by the abuse of children, especially within the Church and by her ministers," he said during mass at the Catholic Westminster Cathedral in London.

"Above all, I express my deep sorrow to the innocent victims of these unspeakable crimes, along with my hope that the power of Christ's grace, his sacrifice of reconciliation, will bring deep healing and peace to their lives."

Pope's state visit criticised in luminaries' letter

16 September 2010 Last updated at 11:24 ET

Pope Benedict XVI

The Pope arrived in the UK for his four-day trip on Thursday

More than 50 public figures have added their names to a letter in the Guardian newspaper saying the Pope should not be given the "honour" of a UK state visit.
Authors Terry Pratchett and Philip Pullman and actor Stephen Fry are among those critical of the Vatican record on birth control, gay rights and abortion.
David Cameron has said the Pope's visit would be a "very special four days".
A Catholic spokesman said the prime minister's comments were an "excellent response to this open letter".

Harsh judgments on the pope and religion

· The Guardian, Wednesday 15 September 2010

We, the undersigned, share the view that Pope Ratzinger should not be given the honour of a state visit to this country. We believe that the pope, as a citizen of Europe and the leader of a religion with many adherents in the UK, is of course free to enter and tour our country. However, as well as a religious leader, the pope is a head of state, and the state and organisation of which he is head has been responsible for:

Opposing the distribution of condoms and so increasing large families in poor countries and the spread of Aids.
Promoting segregated education.

Denying abortion to even the most vulnerable women.

Opposing equal rights for lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Failing to address the many cases of abuse of children within its own organisation.

The state of which the pope is head has also resisted signing many major human rights treaties and has formed its own treaties ("concordats") with many states which negatively affect the human rights of citizens of those states. In any case, we reject the masquerading of the Holy See as a state and the pope as a head of state as merely a convenient fiction to amplify the international influence of the Vatican.

Stephen Fry, Professor Richard Dawkins, Professor Susan Blackmore, Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman, Ed Byrne, Baroness Blackstone, Ken Follett, Professor AC Grayling, Stewart Lee, Baroness Massey, Claire Rayner, Adele Anderson, John Austin MP, Lord Avebury, Sian Berry, Professor Simon Blackburn, Sir David Blatherwick, Sir Tom Blundell, Dr Helena Cronin, Dylan Evans, Hermione Eyre, Lord Foulkes, Professor Chris French, Natalie Haynes, Johann Hari, Jon Holmes, Lord Hughes, Robin Ince, Dr Michael Irwin, Professor Steve Jones, Sir Harold Kroto, Professor John Lee, Zoe Margolis, Jonathan Meades, Sir Jonathan Miller, Diane Munday, Maryam Namazie, David Nobbs, Professor Richard Norman, Lord O'Neill, Simon Price, Paul Rose, Martin Rowson, Michael Rubenstein, Joan Smith, Dr Harry Stopes-Roe, Professor Raymond Tallis, Lord Taverne, Peter Tatchell, Baroness Turner, Professor Lord Wedderburn of Charlton QC FBA, Ann Marie Waters, Professor Wolpert, Jane Wynne Willson

Pope addresses sex abuse scandal as he starts visit to Britain


As a sex abuse scandal rocked the Roman Catholic Church, what did Pope Benedict XVI -- then a cardinal and Vatican official -- know, and when did he learn it? Watch the CNN investigation "What the Pope Knew," September 25 & 26 at 8 p.m. ET.
Glasgow, Scotland (CNN) -- The Roman Catholic Church has not been vigilant enough or fast enough in responding to the problem of sexual abuse by priests, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday.

"These revelations were for me a shock and a great sadness. It is difficult to understand how this perversion of the priestly ministry was possible," he told reporters aboard his plane to Scotland. "How a man who has done this and said this can fall into this perversion is difficult to understand." ...

Another campaigner took aim at the pontiff personally.

"The pope affects the stance of a shocked bystander, when in fact he has been for decades the church's central handler of sex abuse cases," said Terence McKiernan of BishopAccountability, a group that tracks reports of abuse by priests.

In Britain, Pope Criticizes Response to Abuse Crisis

The New York Times
Published: September 16, 2010

GLASGOW — Pope Benedict XVI arrived Thursday in Scotland, offering his strongest criticism yet of the Roman Catholic Church’s handling of the sexual abuse crisis. He said that church leaders had not been “sufficiently vigilant” or “sufficiently swift and decisive” in cracking down on abusers.

While Benedict was received graciously by Queen Elizabeth II in Edinburgh and thousands turned out for an open-air Mass in Glasgow, the visit was taking place under the dark shadow of the sexual abuse scandals, which have shaken even the faithful in nearby Ireland, in his native Germany and elsewhere in Europe. ...
Critics quickly pounced on the statement, calling it evasive and out of touch. In a statement, the United States-based group, which tracks abuse cases, said the pontiff’s words “ring hollow,” adding that he had said similar things for years with little action.

“In researching this crisis for seven years, we have not found one documented instance before 2002 of a top church official contacting civil authorities to report an allegation of sexual abuse,” the group said.

Abuse victims call pope's apology 'PR, not penitence'

USA Today

Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. Pope Benedict XVI once more has apologized for the 'unspeakable' abuse of children and teens by clergy, this time during his sermon at Westminster Cathedral on the third day of his four-day visit to Britain.
The first time was on the flight to Scotland Thursday, and he is also expected to meet privately with some victims during his visit, as he has done on all recent trips abroad.

Meanwhile, outside the cathedral, British victims of abuse were demonstrating against the church's handling of the crisis. And in the USA, one of the major victims' advocates groups,, wasn't buying the apology -- again.

Terence McKiernan, founder and president of the group, brushes Benedict's remarks off as "public relations not penitence." He points to the same ideas, different lingo, during Benedict's 2008 visit to Washington and New York, where he said,
"I am ashamed and we will do everything possible to ensure that this does not happen in future."

McKiernan goes looks at the serial apologies following revelations in Ireland and Europe of rampant abuse in Catholic schools and care facilities.

Pope Visit UK 2010: Live

By Alastair Jamieson, Harriet Alexander and Patrick Sawer
Published: 4:15PM BST 18 Sep 2010

16.15 The Pope has spent the past couple of hours resting at the Apostolic Nunciature in Wimbledon, south west London, before this evening's engagements,
15.11 Nick Clegg, the deputy Prime Minister, spoke to the Pope in German during their meeting this morning, his spokesman discloses.

15.08 Boston-based lay Catholic group issues a statement describing the Pope's apology during Mass as "public relations not penitence". It says: "Pope Benedict continues to speak as if he just stumbled upon the child sex abuse crisis and is as shocked as the rest of us. But he has managed since 1981 the Vatican’s response to the abuse, sodomizing, and sexual torture of children by Catholic priests. For 30 years, he has known more than anyone in the Catholic Church about the damage done to 'innocent victims of these unspeakable crime

Pope's London Mass expresses "deep sorrow" for child sex abuse

The New York Times
By John F. Burns
The New York Times
Posted: 09/19/2010

LONDON — On a day when he faced the largest protests of his four-day state visit to Britain, Pope Benedict XVI used an address at a Mass in Westminster Cathedral on Saturday to reiterate his "deep sorrow" for the "unspeakable crimes" of child abuse within the Roman Catholic Church.

The pope's remarks followed others in recent times in which he has struck an increasingly remorseful tone about the abuse scandal.

But they took on an added weight by being made before 2,000 worshipers in the cathedral that is the seat of Catholicism in England, and ahead of a protest march on a scale rare in the recent history of the papacy.

The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse

New Statesman
John Cornwell
Published 20 September 2010

Geoffrey Robertson QC’s j’accuse against Pope Benedict is a welcome analysis of anomalies in the position of the modern Catholic Church

The clerical abuse scandal has plunged the Catholic Church into a crisis unlike anything it has experienced since the Protestant Reformation half a millennium ago. Pope Benedict, the Curia (the ecclesiastical government of the Church in Rome) and the Catholic bishops of the world have been at pains to minimise the appalling PR.

But the Pope's attempts to understand the underlying causes of clerical abuse have been piecemeal and inchoate. Against this background, any positive contribution towards an understanding of the underlying reasons for the calamity must be welcomed by Catholics and non-Catholic Christians alike - for a failing Catholic Church is a failing Christendom.

Geoffrey Robertson's scalding j'accuse against priestly paedophile perpetrators, the Vatican and the current Pope will likely infuriate most devout Catholics, especially as its publication is timed to coincide with a papal state visit celebrating Benedict's spiritual leadership of his British flock. Written in a series of numbered paragraphs, like lawyer's briefs, the book attempts to address the circumstances which, in Robertson's view, have enabled the Pope to evade justice for his alleged role in covering up the abuse scandal.

Expressing remorse is not enough

Gulf News (Qatar)

Catholic priests who sexually abused children must face legal consequences
On Saturday during mass in London's historic Westminster Cathedral, Pope Benedict XVI said he was ashamed of the "unspeakable" sexual abuse of children by priests, adding he was deeply sorry and hoped that the church's humiliation would help its victims to heal.

While Benedict's head-on confrontation of the issue and apology are welcome, they offer little comfort for the thousands of victims of sexual abuse inflicted by church officials in Western Europe and North America.

The victims have suffered psychological abuse, guilt, remorse, addictions and suicide as a result of the trauma inflicted by priests. Residential, institutional and educational establishments, all under the auspices of the Catholic Church, were dens of abuse, where priests preyed on the innocent with little risk of being caught or punished.

Vatican shows systemic lack of accountability

The Australian
From: The Australian September 20, 2010

OVER recent decades, tens of thousands of victims of abuse by Catholic clergy have suffered at the hands of the Catholic Church's policies. These policies have perennially sacrificed the victim in favour of the institution and the perpetrating clergy. Pope Benedict has held senior doctrinal roles overseeing these policies for nearly three decades. Over that time it is the victims who have borne the cross of abuse and the betrayal by the Church through inaction.

The Australian has uncovered yet another shameful story, this time of the unrepentant Peter Chalk, the former Catholic priest safely ensconced in Japan as allegations of child sex abuse against him mount up, and of the alleged cover-up by the hierarchy of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart ("After 20 years, an abuser is revealed", 18-19/9).

Chalk's statements, as reported, display a complete lack of remorse. He is quoted:

"There certainly seems to be some kind of desire, especially in English-speaking countries, to make a big issue out of these things. What the exact motivation of people is I don't know." Might I suggest that the desire and motivation for victims is to find justice, support, help and redress?

Is "sorrow" enough?

New Statesman
Posted by Sophie Elmhirst - 19 September 2010 11:02

Why the Pope's language about abuse victims was insufficient

The Pope's visit, covered in minute-by-minute detail by the nation's media, is drawing to its close. Today is the final day, and the Pontiff is in Birmingham, conducting the beatification of Cardinal Newman in front of a crowd of thousands in Cofton Park. However, it was his statements yesterday on the child abuse cases within the Catholic Church at a Mass in Westminster Cathedral, that attracted the closest attention:

Above all, I express my deep sorrow to the innocent victims of these unspeakable crimes, along with my hope that the power of Christ's grace, his sacrifice of reconciliation, will bring deep healing and peace to their lives.

To those representing abuse victims, the carefully shaped rhetoric was hardly sufficient. As Peter Isely, of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said: "We don't need a Pope who is sad about crimes. We need a Pope who will prevent crimes. And his words prevent nothing." But what carefully chosen words they are.

"Sorrow", as Isely points out, implies sadness, possibly regret, but it does not constitute an apology, let alone an acknowledgement of wider responsibility or failure within the Church.

Pope ends UK visit with beatification of convert

Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Associated Press

LONDON — Pope Benedict XVI wraps up his visit to Britain with the beatification Sunday of Cardinal John Henry Newman, the 19th century Anglican convert held up by the pope as a model for the faithful because he followed his conscience at great personal cost.

Newman is admired by many Catholics and Anglicans alike and his influence on both churches is enormous. Yet his defection from the Church of England in 1845 still rankles some in that he abandoned Anglicanism because he realized the truth he was searching could only be found in the Catholic faith. ...

The vigil capped a busy day for the pontiff, his third in Britain: He met with four women and a man who were molested by priests as children, told British Catholics at a Mass in Westminster Cathedral he was ashamed by such "unspeakable" crimes and said he hoped the humiliation the church feels will help victims and the church alike heal.

As Benedict met with the victims, thousands of people marched through central London to protest his visit, angered by the abuse scandal as well as Benedict's hard line against gays, abortion, women's ordination and using condoms to fight AIDS. It was the biggest demonstration ever against Benedict in his 5-year papacy.

'My shame and humiliation' ...

Daily Mail
By Jonathan Petre and Nick Pisa
Last updated at 3:26 AM on 19th September 2010

Pope Benedict XVI yesterday issued his strongest apology yet for child abuse by the clergy, denouncing it as an ‘unspeakable crime’.

In a sermon at Westminster Cathedral, the Pope expressed his ‘deep sorrow’ to victims of sexual abuse by priests, and said the scandal had shamed him and the Church.

‘I think of the immense suffering caused by the abuse of children, especially within the Church and by her ministers,’ he told the congregation.

Joan Smith: I'll take no lectures on ethics from Ratzinger

The Independent

The child-abuse scandal engulfing the Catholic church has shocked even its most ardent followers. Yet the Pope, who can barely bring himself to apologise for it, dares to lecture us on the state of our morals.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Let's start with a confession: I'm not really interested in religion. If Joseph Ratzinger wants to pop over to Britain, that's fine with me, as long as I don't have to pay towards it. The Vatican can surely afford the security costs when its chief executive travels abroad to promote the brand. He is welcome to style himself Pope Benedict XVI, but I don't recognise him as a head of state, and my opinion of his morals is barely printable in a family newspaper.

That's my dilemma, in a nutshell. I'd be happy never to write another word about Christianity, Islam or any other supernatural belief system if their leaders didn't keep telling me that their ethics are better than mine. On Thursday, Mr Ratzinger had barely got off the plane in Edinburgh before he was urging Britain to resist "aggressive forms of secularism". With excitable exceptions such as Richard Dawkins, most secularists I know are pretty laid back, although we do get irritated by discrimination against women and gay people. I think that's what Mr Ratzinger meant when he urged us to respect "traditional values", and I'm glad to have played a part in the struggle to eject them from public life.

Victims of abuse by priests speak out: 'There's this wall of silence'

The Independent
Interviews by Andrew McCorkell, Pavan Amara and James Burton
Sunday, 19 September 2010

Victims of abuse by Roman Catholic priests yesterday met the Pope. "He was moved by what they had to say and expressed his deep sorrow and shame" over what they had suffered, a Vatican spokesman said. Other abuse victims also spoke out yesterday.
Sue Cox, from the Protest the Pope organisation, was first abused by her family priest 50 years ago.

"I was brought up in a very strict Catholic family. The first time I was abused was the night before communion and I had to go to confession the next day with the same person. The second time, he raped me in my own home. I was distraught; when my mother found out – she disturbed him [during the rape] – we couldn't talk about it. She mumbled something like, 'pray for him', and 'it was all part of God's plan'. I didn't think it was a very good plan."

Therese Albrecht of the US group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (Snap)
"I was eight when I was raped and sodomised by a Catholic priest. I was distressed and destroyed. It ruined my life and when I finally managed to speak out I found the church would not act. I was also sexually abused by a nun. So I found my voice and we have come to England to protest. I have come from the US to give a message that he [the Pope] needs to do more to protect children from predator priests. I go to Catholic mass once in a while. It's very traumatic for me. But I still love God.

Barbara Blaine, Snap president

"I was abused as a child by a priest in my church. When I finally got the courage to speak up, they made a lot of empty promises and did nothing. I found other people and we realised we were not alone. We are disappointed by response of the Pope so far. Grand apologies are not enough."

Pope meets with clergy abuse victims as thousands protest

[with video]

London, England (CNN) -- Pope Benedict XVI met with five clergy abuse victims while on his official visit to the United Kingdom, the Catholic Communications Network said Saturday, the same day the pope expressed his "deep sorrow" for the scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church.

But his acknowledgement of the abuse suffered by children within the church -- the first time he has publicly addressed the issue during his four-day trip to Britain -- was not enough to dissuade thousands of protesters from expressing their anger on the streets of London. ...

A board member of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, expressed hope that the outcome of the victims' meeting will be positive.

"We hope each of these brave individuals feels better as a result of the meeting, both now and years from now," Mark Serrano wrote in a statement. "It takes real courage to disclose your pain to others, especially those in authority. We hope the risk these victims have taken will prove to be fruitful, for them, for other victims and for children being molested today and in the future."

Pope Visit UK: Thousands turn out to protest against Pontiff

[with video]
By Patrick Sawer
Published: 9:00PM BST 18 Sep 2010

Thousands of protesters marched through the centre of London on Saturday to voice their opposition to the Pope's visit.

Organisers of the event, Protest the Pope, said they wanted to voice anger at the Pontiff's stance on a variety of policies, including homosexuality, the ordination of women, contraception and the church's response to clerical sex abuse.

They claimed that 11,000 took part in the march, which ended at a rally outside Downing Street, although police were unable to confirm the figure.

London marchers confront Pope in biggest protest

Vancouver Sun
By Avril Ormsby, Reuters September 18, 2010

LONDON, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Pope Benedict faced the biggest protest of his 17 trips abroad on Saturday when more than 10,000 people marched in London attacking his treatment of the abuse scandal in the Church, women priests and homosexuality.

Some of the demonstrators were dressed in costumes, including black leather nuns’ habits and red cardinals’ robes. Posters bore the message: "Pope Go Home."

The pope has faced protests throughout his four-day visit to England and Scotland, often competing for attention with the faithful who are solidly supportive of the trip, only the second by a pope in history.

Hyde Park sees protest and praise expressed for Pope

BBC News
By Dhruti Shah
BBC News, central London

On one side of Hyde Park Corner was a stream of pilgrims heading towards the park to see, in person, a man they very much admired - the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI on his first State visit to the UK.

On the other side was a very different group whose opinion of the Pope was hostile, to say the least, but whose members were determined to make their voices heard.

They had come especially to take part in a demonstration organised by campaign group Protest the Pope, which was heading from that meeting point to a rally outside Downing Street.


National Survivor Advocates Coalition

Contact: Mike Coode, 615-364-2334, United Kingdom,
Kristine Ward, 937-272-0308, United States,
The National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) urges the Catholics of the United Kingdom to view Pope Benedict’s apology to sexual abuse survivors using their faith as the measure of what is right and good not their excitement at a religious celebrity in their midst.

It’s always a heady experience when a celebrity hits town and one with enough clout to have traffic re-routed and get on the Queen’s schedule boosts the excitement quotient.

But an apology is only as good as what follows it. Everyone knows from their own life experience that apologies can be flimsy as ash or strong as steel, and can spring from enlightened self interest or be birthed from a firm purpose of amendment. Is this one forged in the steel of right or is it a polite bread and circuses nod to crowd expectation?

Abuse victim responds to Pope's apology

BBC News

A victim of institutional abuse within the Catholic church said an apology by the Pope for the "unspeakable crimes" committed by Catholic priests who sexually abused children did not go "far enough".

The pontiff made his comments during a service at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday morning.

He said the scandal had brought "shame and humiliation" on the church.

Margaret McGuckin was abused in the Sisters of Nazareth orphanage.

She welcomed the Pope's comments but said they didn't go far enough.

Protests as pope apologizes for sex abuse "crimes"

Monsters and Critics

London - Pope Benedict XVI Saturday delivered his strongest condemnation yet of the child sex abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church as more than 10,000 people demonstrated in London against his official visit to Britain.

During a mass celebrated in London on his four-day state visit to Britain, the 83-year-old German-born pontiff expressed his 'deep sorrow' to the victims of abuse by priests, which he denounced as 'unspeakable crimes.'

His remarks came as critics of the papal visit, and victims of child abuse, marched through central London, accusing the pontiff of 'protecting paedophile priests.'
Pope Benedict XVI needs to 'listen not lecture,' says British think-tank during Pope's visit to London

Christian News Today
By Dan Wooding

LONDON, UK -- "Public gaffes" made by Pope Benedict XVI and his retired senior adviser Cardinal Kasper, in aligning atheism with Nazism and describing Britain's social mix as being "like a Third World country," show that the Roman Catholic Church needs to re-learn how to communicate by listening not lecturing, says the UK-based religion and society think-tank, Ekklesia.

The strongly-worded comments were made during the second day of the Pope's four-day visit to the United Kingdom.

"The pontiff has misjudged his wider audience by pandering to exaggerated fears of antagonism to religion, rather than building bridges of understanding and cooperation between the peacemaking and justice-loving heart of Christianity and those of other or no faith committed to doing good in a plural society," said Ekklesia's Simon Barrow in a statement sent to the ASSIST News Service.

Church abuse survivors demand justice

Daily Monitor

Sue Cox was 10 years old when she says she was raped by a priest in her family home on the eve of her Confirmation, a sacrament which signifies the cementing of bonds between baptised believers and the Church.

The attack occurred in her bedroom while her family was downstairs. “I was mortified. I started to self-harm. I was ashamed and guilty,” she said. Her mother told her: “Perhaps it was one of God’s plans.”

“It wasn’t one of His better ones,” Cox said.

Protest the Pope rally sees 10,000 march through London's streets

Tracy Mcveigh, Saturday 18 September 2010

Day three of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Britain and it was a day for protests and anti-papists under bright blue skies in central London. Around 10,000 people took to the capital's streets for a Protest the Pope rally and march against what the organisers called "papal intolerance" and to condemn the state funding of the visit.

They came in red cardboard papal hats scrawled with the words "bigot" and "homophobe" and carrying placards, rainbow flags, pledges of atheism and balloons made of condoms. One giant banner showing the Pope carrying a swastika was later taken down after offending many of the protesters, who went as far as complaining to the police officers lining the route of the march to Downing Street.

Although a good-natured crowd, the force of feeling against the presence of Pope Benedict in the UK was clear in the messages condemning his stance on homosexuality, the use of condoms, segregated schools, women's rights and, most of all, the child abuse scandal for which so many hold the pontiff personally responsible for both accelerating it and then covering it up.

Victims unveil '5 point action plan' after UK papal visit

-10:30 a.m. Monday
After Pope’s visit, clergy abuse victims announce papal benchmarks

They want Benedict's strong words to be followed by even strong actions
Group lays out tangible Vatican measurements to make church safer for all
Victims to flyer parishioners asking them to help prod Catholic officials now


Victims of clergy sexual abuse, after making brief sidewalk remarks, will hand out to parishioners and pedestrian passers-by a five point plan of action to address clergy sex crimes and cover ups in the wake of the papal visit to the UK

TODAY, Sept. 20, 10:30 a.m.


On sidewalk outside Westminster Cathedral on Fifth Avenue in London


Eight clergy sex abuse victims from four nations (UK, US, Belgium and Australia) including leaders of a US-based support group called SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (


Victims around the country want to see the global attention given to clerical sex abuse by Pope Benedict result in at least five concrete child protection measures by the Pope over the next six months to a year.
Victims believe that only these steps - simple, clear, measurable – will guarantee that the Pope's next overseas visit will have a lasting, historic and deep impact on the welfare of children around the world.

Each day of the UK papal visit, victims from several nations and SNAP leaders have focused on one of these

measures, through leafleting Catholics and holding news conferences.
Victims are urging Catholics to measure the success of Benedict's words and promises by his completion of the following 5 benchmarks:
-he adopts a global “zero tolerance” policy on child sex abuse by clergy to stop bishops from moving predator priests to new parishes, dioceses and countries and stay in ministry

- he sanctions, reprimands or publicly disciplines at least a handful of bishops who have transferred known sex offenders

-he orders bishops around the world to publicly disclose and post on line the names of all sex offender clerics and give evidence of their crimes to local and international law enforcement officials

-he urges heads of state and legislative bodies world-wide to launch thorough investigations of clergy sex crimes and cover ups as the Irish government has done (i.e., the Murphy report)

-he orders prelates to support, not oppose, secular legislative reforms, like extending or eliminating the statute of limitations, that better protect children from sex crimes.

Victims believe that the true meaning of the Pope's visit will only be known by the actions that are taken (or not taken by him) with bishops, Catholic laity, lawmakers, law enforcement officers, survivors and others in the next several months. Strong words, they believe, must be followed by strong actions that have measurable results.

Barbara Blaine (312 399 4747 cell,, 07587206053), Therese Albrecht 07 570 893 544), Barbara Dorris (314 503 0003 cell,

Pope bashers are throwback to 1605

Daily Record
By George Galloway on Sep 20, 10

As Bridget Jones might have said, he's not my favourite Pope or anything, but the malignant undertone to much of the coverage of the Pope Benedict visit fair takes you back.

To hundreds of years of British hosti lity to the Catholic Church, exemplified by the burning of the Guy and guys like him since around the time of the Gunpowder Plot.
When Guy Fawkes began plotting his treason, being a Catholic in Britain was a bit like being a Jew in Occupied Europe during the war. ...

He's slated for "covering up" sexual malpractice in the priesthood, though there is not a jot of evidence that he ever did anything not common practice in most societies and agencies at the time when faced with such "unspeakable crimes". In any case, child sex abuse happens in many places, and many churches too. I was myself sexually abused in the Army Cadet Force, by a non-denominational school janitor while he dressed up like Captain Mainwaring.

Others have been abused, in Boys' Brigades, Boy Scouts, football teams, clubs of all sorts.

Catholic Church is 'systemically paedophile' says Tory MEP

By Damian Thompson
Last updated: September 20th, 2010

Unbelievable. I’ve just been sent a link to a blog post by Roger Helmer MEP in which he says:

It would not be fair to describe the Church as “institutionally paedophile”. So far as I know it has no rules or systems designed to support or promote paedophilia. But I think it would be perfectly fair to describe it as systemically paedophile.
He also says:

Priestly celibacy is meant to focus the priest’s mind on God’s work, but all too often it seems to focus his mind on altar boys. If you put such priests in charge of the pastoral care of young people, you create both the inclination and the opportunity for abuse.

The Pope goes to Great Britain

"It's About Me"
Tim Fischer

The Pope went to Great Britain this past week. He made a great and swooning apology to all survivors of priest sex abuse. It sounded very convincing but fell very short on having teeth. In fact, it looks as though nothing will change except now the pope will tell us he is sorry every chance he gets to be in front of a camera. He still refuses to turn over records of known & suspected pedophiles to the police. As if the church has some moral and legal authority in this matter. The simple truth here is, if there is a crime committed, the police should have authority and no one else.

So while the Pope swoons and pounds his chest and tears up as he talks, he has really done nothing to put an end to the abuse and protect future generations.

The bible talks a lot about faith and works and about faith vs works. That is faith, a belief in God or what is right and good, as opposed to works, doing what is right and good. In the book of James (Jesus' brother) James puts the two together when he said this:

James chapter 2:15-18 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacks daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, keep warm and eat well," but you do not give them what the body needs, what good is it? 17 So also faith, if it does not have works, is dead being by itself. 18 But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith without works and I will show you faith by my works.

I see the pope doing this very thing. "I'm sooooo sorry for what has been done... Now go in peace. What turn over names??? Well that's a horse of a different color."


Benedict's in a box in talking about the crisis

National Catholic Reporter (United States)

By now, declarations of papal contrition for the sex abuse crisis, such as that uttered by Benedict XVI this morning in Westminster Cathedral on day three of his Sept. 16-19 trip to the United Kingdom, have become almost routine.

As always, it seems, familiarity breeds contempt. The pope’s critics are becoming increasingly acerbic in denouncing these words as hollow, while some of his friends are openly questioning the value of endless apologies.

The dilemma Benedict XVI will have to face is whether to keep talking about the crisis every time he travels, and if he does, how to do it in a way that’s constructive.

Vatican Bank Under Investigation for Money Laundering

# Official: Vatican bank investigation centred on 'mistake'
Irish Examiner - 14 hours ago
# Vatican Bank Under Investigation for Money Laundering
The AtlanticWire - 1 day ago
# Vatican bank investigated for money laundering
Foreign Policy (blog) - 1 day ago

By John Hudson | September 21, 2010 3:06pm

Move over sex scandals. The Vatican's got a money laundering probe on its hands. Italian authorities have frozen $30 million at the Vatican Bank following two large money transfers that the Vatican didn't provide "enough information about." The alleged wrongdoings are still pretty hazy but here's what we know so far.
The Vatican Is Backing Its Man, writes MSNBC: "In a statement, the Vatican said it had been working for some time to make its finances more transparent to comply with anti-terrorism and anti-money laundering regulations. It expresses full trust in the head of the bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, and the director-general."
The Bank Has Had Issues Before This, writes JJ Sutherland at NPR: "The bank was involved in a major scandal back in 1982 when it got involved in the fraudulent bankruptcy of Banco Ambrosiano. The president of that bank, Roberto Calvi, was found hanged under a bridge in London."
It's Held to Pretty Strict Rules, writes CNN's wire staff: "The Vatican Bank is subject to particularly stringent anti-money laundering regulations because Italian law does not consider it to be operating within the European Union."
The Vatican Didn't See This Coming, reports Reuters:

The Vatican confirmed the Rome magistrates’ action in a statement that expressed “perplexity and amazement” at the move and “utmost faith” in the two men who head the bank, officially known as Institute for Religious Works (IOR). It said the bank had committed no wrongdoing because it was transferring its own money between its own accounts. The IOR primarily manages funds for the Vatican and religious institutions around the world, such as charity organisations and religious orders of priests and nuns.
Maybe the Vatican Doesn't Deserve to Keep Its Sovereignty, suggests Joshua Keating at Foreign Policy: "The current investigation could add more fuel to the current debate over Vatican sovereignty, which was prompted by the pope's recent visit to Britain. Anti-pope campaigners like the British LGBT activist Peter Tatchell argue that the Holy See's officially recognized sovereignty and observer status at the United Nations give it unwarranted authority in international debates over subjects like birth control, abortion and homosexuality while protecting priests and Vatican officials from prosecution."

* Money-Laundering Probe CNN Wire Staff, CNN
* Under Investigation JJ Sutherland, NPR
* Seizes $30M Nicole Winfield, AP
* Bank Investigated Joshua Keating, Foreign Policy

Vatican claims transparency amid laundering probe; SNAP responds

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915 home,

Again, a Vatican official is accused of not being “transparent” and again, his fellow Vatican officials immediately rally behind him. (According to the AP, the Vatican says it has “full trust” in the chair of the Vatican bank which is under investigation by police.)

It’s sad to see Catholic officials immediately and publicly defending a colleague early in a police probe, long before the evidence has been fully gathered and analyzed. Vatican staff see to take this same reflexive, self-serving stance in nearly every criminal probe its employees face, whether financial or sexual. It serves to intimidate others with information into staying silent.

We encourage the Pope’s top advisors to withhold comment and judgment in such cases. If they must speak, we urge them to urge others who can shed light on serious allegations of wrongdoing to come forward and help police and prosecutors resolve the suspicions.

Vatican bank probe revives Catholic Church's past financial scandals

The Christian Science Monitor

By Nick Squires, Correspondent / September 22, 2010

The head of the Vatican’s bank said he had been “humiliated” by the announcement of an investigation into alleged money laundering as the Roman Catholic Church received another blow to its battered reputation.

The investigation demonstrates a more muscular attitude toward the Vatican's finances on the part of the Bank of Italy, which has instituted new regulations on banking transparency, experts say.

Italian authorities froze 23 million euros ($30 million) belonging to the bank, officially known as the Institute for Religious Works, and placed its president, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, and chief executive, Paolo Cipriani, under investigation for alleged breaches of money laundering laws.

The unprecedented move could hardly come at a worse time for the Vatican. For months, it has been the target of scathing criticism for failing to deal with clerical sex abuse cases around the world.

Black As Sin: Vatican Bank Accused Of Money-Laundering


Yesterday, in a surprising turn of events, Italian authorities announced that they are investigating the Vatican Bank, as well as the head of the Vatican Bank, for money laundering. Police, tipped off by the Bank of Italy, have frozen 23 million euros ($30.21 million) of the Vatican funds, and placed Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, who has been at the helm of the bank for a year, as well as a number of other executives, under investigation. Ettore Gotti Tedeschi is reported to be a member of Opus Dei. Rome magistrates Nello Rossi and Stefano Fava are currently leading the case. Reports out of Italy indicate that the Bank of Italy identified two suspicious Vatican Bank transactions that did not appear to comply with the country's anti-money laundering requirements. Interestingly, when the Bank of Italy informed legal authorities of the transactions, judicial authorities informed the Bank that an investigation into purported money laundering by the Papal body was already underway.

Vatican bank again in the eye of the storm after probe


By Catherine Jouault (AFP)

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican's bank found itself fending off fresh accusations of wrongdoing Wednesday after Italian prosecutors opened a probe against senior executives for violating money laundering norms.

The investigation, launched against the bank's president and another manager, risks casting another shadow on the Vatican after the priest paedophilia scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church around the world.

And it is a fresh blow to the bank itself, whose reputation was badly hit by the 1980s Banco Ambrosiano scandal.

Pope's banker faces inquiry over 'money laundering'

The Independent (United Kingdom)

By Michael Day in Milan

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The Vatican, still picking up the pieces after the global paedophilia scandal, was yesterday rocked by news that the heads of its bank are under investigation in connection with a £20m money laundering probe.

Vatican Bank president Ettore Gotti Tedeschi and director-general Paolo Cipriani are being investigated following two transactions that were reported as "suspicious", police sources said.

The transactions on 15 September are thought to involve €20m sent to the German bank JP Morgan in Frankfurt, and €3m sent to a central-Italian bank, the Banca del Fucino. The funds have been seized by Italian authorities.


Rupert Cornwell: The Vatican's appeal as an offshore haven is still evident

The Independent (United Kingdom)

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

"Vatican Bank under investigation." Those four words instantly summon up one of the 20th century's most lurid financial mysteries – the death of Roberto Calvi, the $1.4bn collapse of his Banco Ambrosiano, and its entanglement with the Istituto per le Opere di Religione (IOR) – then, as now, the bank of the Holy See.

Calvi was found dead on 18 June 1982, his body hanging from scaffolding under Blackfriars Bridge in central London, his suit pockets stuffed with stones, as well as £7,400 worth of cash, in dollars and Swiss francs. His death was first ruled a suicide, then a murder, but the case has never been solved.

Those bizarre circumstances were newsworthy enough. Even more newsworthy were the links that emerged with the Vatican. Ambrosiano had hidden its colossal debts with a network of shell companies run out of an Ambrosiano subsidiary in Lima, Peru. All of them, as letters of patronage issued by the IOR admitted, were "directly or indirectly controlled" by the Vatican bank.

Vatican bank in the spotlight over money laundering claim

The Irish Times


THE UGLY ghosts of Roberto Calvi, Archbishop Marcinkus, P2 and the Banco Ambrosiano hovered uneasily in the Roman air yesterday as it was revealed that the Vatican bank, IOR (Istituto per le Opere di Religione) is currently under investigation for possible violations of Italian money laundering regulations.

Ever since it emerged that Archbishop Marcinkus had, wittingly or unwittingly, involved the Vatican Bank in the affairs of Roberto Calvi’s Banco Ambrosiano, a bank that collapsed spectacularly in 1982 with debts of $1.3 billion (€98 million), the very name IOR prompts controversy.

The Holy See yesterday found that IOR is once again in the eye of the storm with both Banca d’Italia and state investigators expressing reservations about two Vatican bank transactions which do not appear to have complied with anti-money laundering requirements.
Vatican bank officials under investigation in laundering case

Los Angeles Times

By Henry Chu and Maria De Cristofaro, Los Angeles Times

September 21, 2010

Reporting from London and Rome — In another blow to the Holy See, Italian authorities have begun investigating the top two officials at the Vatican bank on suspicion of violating money-laundering rules and have frozen $30 million in the bank's assets, news reports said Tuesday.

The Vatican, already battered by a scandal over priestly sexual abuse, expressed "puzzlement and amazement" at the allegations and said it was committed to financial transparency. ...

The bank, a private entity, is suspected of failing to identify the source of $30 million that it was transferring to a branch of American financial giant J.P. Morgan in Frankfurt, Germany, and to the Italian institution Banca del Fucino, according to Italy's ANSA news agency.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Benedict XVI the emperor really has no clothes.The case against Vatican power

Benedict XVI smelling the stench of Priestly Pedophilia of Biblical Proportions committed by the John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army

The case against Vatican power

Geoffrey Robertson

Published 08 September 2010

New Statesman

The Catholic Church claims the privileges of statehood, which gives it huge advantages over other religious institutions – and allows the protection of paedophile priests under canon law.

The Pope will arrive in Britain on 16 September in two capacities. He will emerge at Edinburgh resplendent in his regalia of head of state ("a red satin mozzetta trimmed with fur") to meet the Queen, who must, according to Vatican etiquette, dress in black - only Catholic queens can wear white in the pontifical presence. He must then change into more modest robes to conduct an open-air Mass in Glasgow as head of the Roman Catholic Church. In that capacity, he deserves the warmest of welcomes and the utmost respect. But as head of a state - sovereign of the Vatican City State and the Holy See - it is time to point out that this emperor really has no clothes.

The Catholic Church is the only religion that is permitted - under international law as interpreted by the Foreign Office, and at the United Nations - to claim the privileges of sovereignty and statehood. These are consid­erable: both the Vatican and its leader have immunity from civil or criminal actions for the damage that they do to others - whether by trafficking paedophile priests or by condoning fraud at the Vatican Bank (suspects can avoid European arrest warrants by staying within the "inviolable" walls of the Holy City).

At the UN, which has wrongly allowed the Holy See to do everything a nation state may do except vote in the General Assembly (where it is nonetheless accorded six seats from which to speak and lobby), the Church's advantages over other faith groups are enormous. At conferences, it lobbies relentlessly (usually with the help of Libya and Iraq) against any humanitarian action that might condone the "heinous evils" of abortion - even after incest or rape - or homosexuality, and attempts to sabotage the distribution of condoms, including to married couples, to contain the plague of HIV/Aids.

At meetings to settle agendas relating to UN conferences on social or economic issues, Holy See diplomats have been exploiting their "statehood" to oppose the inclusion of any language that sends a shudder up their spiritual spine - "gender" and "gender equality", "sexual orientation", "unwanted pregnancy", "unsafe abortion", "sex education", "reproductive health", "reproductive rights", "contraception", "sexual health", "couples and individuals" and even "lifestyle". Sovereign statehood brings huge advantages over other faith groups and non-governmental organisations, which the Church uses to oppose the sexual and health rights of everyone and the rights of women in particular.

But this is not the only illegitimate consequence of regarding Vatican City - or its government, the Holy See - as a state. As part of its "sovereignty", the Vatican claims the right, in all states where its Church operates, to deal with its priests and other "religious" under canon law - the set of ecclesiastical rules that includes disciplinary provisions for offences ranging from ordaining women and promoting heresy to having sex with children.

While there can be no objection to an organisation disciplining members for a breach of arcane rules, there is every objection when those breaches amount to serious crimes and the organisation claims the right to deal with them internally without reporting them to the police. And that is precisely what the Vatican has been doing: instead of reporting to the law-enforcement authorities those priests whom it knows to be guilty of raping children, and to be likely to rape more children in the future, it has been dealing with them under canon law, which demands utmost "pontifical" secrecy, moving them to other parishes and other countries and letting them off with admonitions and unenforceable "penances" (usually to say prayers for their victims).

On occasion, they are accorded a canon law "trial" under a medieval written procedure run by fellow priests, which permits neither cross-examination and medical examination nor DNA testing. In the unlikely event that the trial ends in conviction, canon law has no "punishment" worthy of that name. The worst that can happen, other than an order to do penance, is "laicisation" - that is, defrocking - which permits the paedophile to leave the Church and get a job in a state school or care home without anyone knowing of this "conviction". Canon law has no sex offenders' register.

It is the Vatican's obsessive attachment to its right to deal with clerical sex abuse of children under the secrecy of canon law procedures, without permitting (let alone requiring) any reporting of the crime or the criminal to law-enforcement agencies, that has been central to its present crisis.

It is now clear that tens of thousands - perhaps even approaching 100,000 - children, mainly boys, were sexually molested by priests over a period (1981-2005) coinciding with Cardinal Ratzinger's responsibility as head "prefect" of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the CDF, the Vatican body that oversees canon law proceedings against them). Judicial inquiries have described sexual abuse as "endemic" in Catholic boys' homes in Ireland. The report of the understated John Jay College inquiry, published in 2004, found 10,667 victims in the US, where over $1.6bn is believed to have been paid in damages so far. A truth commission in Canada is uncovering huge abuse in Catholic-run residential homes. In Melbourne, Australia, the Church has had to compensate 300 victims of 60 molesting priests, only one of whom it has defrocked. Forty-five of Malta's 850 priests are suspected paedophiles, with multiple victims. Similar incidents are emerging from the priesthood in Austria, Belgium and Germany. It is said that the scale of sex abuse in Latin America and Africa, to which many paedophile priests from America and Europe have been trafficked, will be even worse.

Abuse happened on this scale - and was allowed to happen - in part because Joseph Ratzinger, both as head of the CDF and as Pope, has insisted for the past 30 years that all such cases be dealt with in secrecy under canon law. As late as July this year, when he promulgated new canon laws about sex abuse (finally making it as serious an offence as ordaining a woman), he deliberately and adamantly refused to direct his bishops to report confirmed or reasonably suspected cases of child rape to the police.

How on earth do these statehood privileges, extending even to the power to use its own law to the exclusion of local criminal law, come to be vouchsafed to just one out of many religions and NGOs? To qualify as a state in international law, an entity must have territory and must have people - a permanent population.

As any tourist in St Peter's Square will recognise, Vatican City has neither. It is simply a palace with a large basilica and ample gardens, less than a quarter of a square mile in size, like so many golf courses. It has no "Vaticanians", just a few hundred celibate Catholic bureaucrats and some daily workers who come over the road from Italy. It is a palace with museums but no nationals; all its basic services are provided from Italy.

The Holy See lacks any stable human society. Its only "permanent" member is the pontiff, who prefers on many evenings to pope-copter off to his residence in Italy, Castel Gandolfo. He has no "people" to enter in the Olympics or to play in the World Cup or to serve on any international peacekeeping mission: even the papal guards are Swiss. In reality, Vaticanland is no more a state than Bophuthatswana, or indeed Disneyland - which is larger than the Vatican and has more denizens, dressed in even more colourful costumes.

So, why does Britain recognise the Vatican as a state when it so obviously is not? I have recently asked this question through Freedom of Information requests, and have been told by the Foreign Office that it does so in reliance on the Lateran Treaty of 1929. The Holy See itself bases its claim to statehood squarely on this document. But the Lateran Treaty was a squalid deal to secure fascism in Italy, negotiated between Benito Mussolini and Pope Pius XI, who hailed the demagogue as "the man sent by providence" to put an end to liberal democracy. In truth, it was not a "treaty" - a written agreement between states - at all, but a deal between one state and its Church, as the Holy See had lost any claim to statehood after its territory (the papal states) was conquered by the army of the Risorgimento in 1870.

Nonetheless, in return for electoral support, Mussolini conveyed the patch of land containing the Vatican Palace and gardens to the pope to provide him with some territory to assist his claim to statehood, which papal diplomats said was needed in order to promote his religion's "mission to the world". Although states with Catholic populations soon sent envoys, only 85 countries had any diplomatic connections until the Reagan administration recognised the advantage of having a head of state who was profoundly anti-communist, and many western states followed when the US recognised the Holy See in 1984. Some of them opened embassies to the Vatican (located in Italy) and received papal nuncios (most of whom are still Italian) in return.

But that the Holy See is capable of having diplomatic relations with other states does not necessarily prove that it is a state itself, and some international lawyers have pointed out that it lacks people, territory and other qualifications necessary to be judged objectively as a state in international law. If they are right, the Pope would not be "head" of a state and could be sued for the negligence in relation to the traffic in paedophile priests, which happened on his watch over the 24 years when he ran the CDF.

The Lateran "treaty", for all its unsavoury fascist origins, is accorded the most astounding (and legally mistaken) respect by the Foreign Office. To a Freedom of Information request made on my behalf, asking why it was necessary for the British taxpayer to fund two separate embassies in Rome, one to the Vatican and one to Italy, the response (which came from "the Assistant Desk Officer, Papal Visit Team") was that "under the Lateran Pact, it is impossible for a state to merge its embassies to Italy with the Holy See . . . they are in separate buildings . . . in accordance with the Lateran Pacts, the two ambassadors' residences remain located in separate parts of Rome".

It is nonsense to claim that there is anything in the Lateran Treaty that requires this separation, and acceptance of the Vatican bluff that it does has cost the UK millions of euros over the years. Our superfluous embassy to the Vatican performs no useful or consular service for UK citizens. When I rang its doorbell recently during office hours, I was informed that visits were by appointment only. When I claimed to have had my passport stolen in the Sistine Chapel (an increasingly common experience), I was referred to the UK's embassy to Italy. It is astonishing that the Foreign Office has been such a pushover, conceding a claim by Vatican diplomats that is not only wrong in law but based on a treaty to which the UK is not a party. And, speaking of parties, the UK's Vatican embassy hosted 52 of them (one a week) in 2008 for 1,338 guests, namely "senior Vatican officials and others connected with Holy See diplomacy". It is unlikely that the conversations over champagne and canapés raised questions about Vatican accountability for sexual abuse of children, or deaths from condom-preventable HIV/Aids.

Reliance on the Lateran pact, which is not a treaty and to which Britain is not in any event a party, is ironic, given its Article 24, which makes the Pope's sovereignty conditional on his abjuring any part in "temporal rivalries". Recent popes have reneged on this undertaking - in 1999, with the approval of Pope John Paul II, the then Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Sodano, launched a ferocious public attack on the UK for daring to detain General Augusto Pinochet; this year, Benedict XVI condemned the UK's Equality Bill and urged his bishops to fight it "with missionary zeal".

While head of the CDF, the Pope formulated a plan to put pressure on Catholic politicians in all democratic countries to vote against abortion in any circumstances (even to save the life of the mother) and to use their political power to prevent laws providing for gay marriage.

If they contravene the Church teachings, they are to be excluded from Mass, and possibly excommunicated. Under his present Vatican "enforcer", the American archbishop Raymond Burke (who led a campaign to exclude John Kerry from Mass when he was running against George W Bush), the same threats are being made against Vice-President Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, Democratic leader in the House of Representatives. The exercise by one state of power to use spiritual blackmail against democratically elected politicians in other states is a fundamental breach of Article 24 of the very "treaty" under which the Vatican claims to be a state. So, too, is its use of canon law to harbour those who have committed serious crimes.

In that respect, it is astonishing that the Holy See has escaped examination by human rights bodies and the UN. It has ratified only two human rights treaties - the Convention against Torture (it has a curious reservation that seems to provide an exemption for torture in hell), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The latter treaty (endorsed almost unanimously) imposes the "paramountcy principle" that the interests of the child must always come first. There is now overwhelming evidence that the Vatican and its leader have consistently and inexcusably breached the children's convention, preferring to cover up clerical sex abuse of children in the interests of protecting the repu­tation and wealth of the Catholic Church. The UN's ineffectual "committee of experts", which pretends to supervise compliance with the convention, has said not a word.

What is most astonishing about Vatican "statehood" is that it has avoided criticism. It refuses to ratify most human rights treaties (even China has a better record in this respect). It uses its privileged platform at the UN to oppose equal and decent treatment for women and gay people; it opposes reproductive rights of all kinds, not to mention divorce, embryo experimentation, IVF and artificial insemination (because the sperm is obtained from masturbation), any form of artificial contraception and even prenatal scans. Not only is it hostile to many human rights, it is responsible for covering up the widespread and systematic molestation of children by its own officials and servants. There has not been a whisper of criticism from Amnesty International, or Human Rights Watch, or from nations such as the UK which claim to be concerned about human rights violations by other states.

One reason is that no political leader is prepared to alienate Catholic voters by criticising the Pope: Tony Blair went four times to kiss the Fisherman's Ring, while Vladimir Putin visited three times as president, as did George Bush during just his first term. A more acceptable reason is that the Vatican has a degree of protection within human rights circles because of the outstanding work being done by Cafod, Caritas and other Catholic charities, especially in remote impoverished areas of Africa and Asia. This is the splendid side of a church which brings joy and faith into the lives of hundreds of millions of adherents and cares with genuine compassion for the poor and the sick.

As head of that Church, Benedict XVI should be welcomed enthusiastically to Britain. But watch out whenever he wears his opulent robes of statehood, and look at him through the eyes of the thousands of small boys who have been bewitched, buggered and bewildered by priests protected under canon law.

Geoffrey Robertson, QC is the author of "Cases Against Humanity". His new book, "The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse", is published on 8 September as a Penguin Special (£5.99)

2 comments from readers

Left Is Forward
08 September 2010 at 21:16

"As head of that Church, Benedict XVI should be welcomed enthusiastically to Britain" - nope.

The problem with "the outstanding work being done by Cafod, Caritas and other Catholic charities, especially in remote impoverished areas of Africa and Asia" is that it's being used by the church to gain power and influence over regions too weak to stand up to it, to gain fresh converts, and as a protective smokescreen against condemnation for their more obviously dark sides.

The power and influence part is important: in the West the power of the Church is limited by a strong civic society. But in Africa, if the Vatican runs and funds sex education, it's going to be anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-condom - indeed even anti-sex! If it is in charge of the hospitals, women will be denied their reproductive rights there. If it is in charge of big chunks of the education system (more autonomous against central control than faith schools in the UK, and with Catholic-run universities also) then there will be anti-science, anti-rationalism, as well as prejudice against other (equally deluded) religions. The Church must either accept that it has no right to push its ideology down the throat of those it helps, or pack up and go home. (When Catholic adoption services in Britain were told to stop discriminating against gays, rather than comply they simply ceased operation altogether, which shows you both where their true priorities were and exactly how compassoinate they were. But in Africa few will stand up to the Church in the same way.)

If there is the need for charity and aid in the developint world, we should beef up the role of UNESCO as a provider. But Catholic charities (as well as Islamic Relief and others) must be told to stop their ideology-peddling, or stop altogether.

Letting the Catholic Church off the hook because they perform "charity" of this kind, is basically equivalent to believing that giving sweets to children is the acceptable face of paedophilia. A superficially "nice" deed which is calculatedly instrumental to their massive wrongdoing, can never be an excuse for it.


The Vatican is not a Country as other European Countries. It’s an artificial State created by Mussolini in 1929. It now wants power in European Union

Sins and crimes are not synonymous. Sinners and criminals are not one and the same

No amount of ‘historic apology’ Benedict makes will matter -- unless he fires the first criminals Cardinal Bernard Law & Cardinal Roger Mahony

Benedict XVI’s phony sorrow, superficial shame & crocodile tears in Malta; how long will he continue his Papal lies and Papal parody?

John Paul II Millstone

September 11 = 5,000 victims. Belgian Catholic Church = 5,000 victims. John Paul II the Great Pedophile Priests Army keeps marching on in Europe !!

Canon law has allowed abuse priests to escape punishment, says lawyer

Afua Hirsch, legal affairs correspondent, Tuesday 7 September 2010

The system of law operated by the Vatican has allowed serious sex offenders to escape punishment and must be abandoned, says a prominent lawyer.

According to Geoffrey Robertson QC, whose book The Case of the Pope is published tomorrow: "Canon law has been allowed to trump criminal law in countries throughout the world. This is a very serious matter‚ the pope through his pretensions to statehood refuses to acknowledge that child sex abuse is a serious crime as well as a sin.

"The Catholic church must abandon canon law as a punishment for priests who commit crimes."

The church's form of law, Robertson argues, "has no public hearings, no DNA test facilities, no enforcement mechanism, and the most severe punishments – excommunication or an order to return to the laity (without entry on a sex offenders' register) – bears no comparison with the sentences of imprisonment or community service that can be expected under criminal law."

He describes the penalties as "derisory", with those found guilty of molesting children required to undergo "chiefly spiritual exercises".

Robertson also argues that the pope cannot legally be considered a head of state and, therefore, covered by diplomatic immunity. The lawyer is highly critical of the British government, which he accuses of failing to understand the international law surrounding sovereignty.

The UK is one of several countries that recognises the sovereignty of the Vatican and the Holy See based on the 1929 Lateran treaty signed by the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.

"This is nonsense," Robertson told the Guardian. "The Lateran treaty says nothing of the sort, and even if it did the UK would not be bound, since it was not a party.

"The Lateran treaty cannot serve as a credible or creditable basis for the Holy See to claim statehood. The grant of 108 acres – the size of a large golf course – was not pursuant to any international treaty, but rather the unilateral declaration of one sovereign state."

Neither city nor See was ever accepted as a member of the League of Nations, and their offer to join the United Nations in 1944 was rejected "with some derision" by the then US secretary of state, Cordell Hull, Roberston said. "Yet this is the rock on which the Holy See still stands for its sovereignty and statehood."

The law, set out in the 1933 Montevideo Convention on defines states as entities with a permanent population and a defined territory.

Robertson said: "The most dimwitted tourist in St Peter's Square can recognise that before him stands not a state, but a palace with a basilica surrounded by museums and gardens."

The claims come amid growing calls from campaigners for the pope to be arrested for crimes against humanity when he arrives on Monday to begin the first papal visit to Britain in nearly three decades.

Today it emerged that the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, will be among the senior politicians and religious leaders presented to Benedict XVI by the Queen at Holyroodhouse Palace in Edinburgh. There are no plans for David Cameron to attend.

The Vatican has been accepted as a party to international treaties, including the statue for the international criminal court. Robertson argues that even if the Vatican is considered a state, there is still the possibility of an arrest for crimes against humanity under the jurisdiction of the court.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

John L. Allen Jr the most cold-blooded Vaticanista nullify SNAP and all victims' misery caused by the John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army

John L. Allen Jr is at it again as the Pied Piper of Benedict XVI and the Vatican (after all he is being paid journalist on the planet, paid by the Vatican trillion dollar Bank.)

He makes the experiences of SNAP and all victims as if they are nothing by the way he writes and media-spin for Benedict XVI in his upcoming visit to England.
Notice the way he writes:

3. Will the sex abuse crisis overshadow the trip?

Probably not. It didn't in the United States or Australia in 2008, both places where the sexual abuse crisis has been more intense. Things have been so comparatively calm in the U.K. that Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton recently suggested that Pope Benedict "may well be relieved to be coming to a place where, unlike some of his other recent trips, there are no big problems for him to sort out."

Here's the main reason, however, why the crisis won't overshadow the trip: A papal journey is one of those rare moments when the Vatican is adept at offering the media another story to do.

While the pope is in town, there will be plenty of compelling pictures and sound: Benedict XVI meeting the Queen, visiting the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace, standing in the spot in Westminster Hall where St. Thomas More was condemned, praying at the tomb of St. Edward the Confessor, and on and on.

Really, it is total waste of time to read John Allen Jr All things Catholic column, unless one wants to follow him to the cave of deception after deception.

See our features on John L Allen Jr, the biggest Catholic journalist deceiver of all times

Biggest Vatican stories of the decade: John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army committed Holy ES Eucharist-and-Sodomy of Biblical proportions

John L. Allen Jr the Pied Piper of Benedict XVI toots “Will Ratzinger's past trump Benedict's present?”

Four questions about the pope's trip to the UK
By John L Allen Jr
Created Sep 03, 2010

Now that September has arrived, news agencies are beginning to focus in earnest on Pope Benedict XVI's Sept. 16-19 trip to the United Kingdom. I know that because of the phone calls and e-mails I've received from colleagues in Scotland and England in the last few days, seeking a sound-bite for whatever curtain-raising piece they have to do.

Press culture in the U.K. is extremely competitive, so when there's no actual news to report it has to be manufactured. Here's a recent case in point vis-à-vis the papal trip: Not long ago, local organizers put out a "pilgrim's guide" for people attending the big events. It included tips on stuff not to bring, such as booze, BBQs, and open flames. Also on the list were musical instruments, which prompted a reporter from the Daily Telegraph to call the bishops' conference to ask: "Does that include the vuvuzela?" (That, of course, is the god-awful horn made famous by the South African World Cup.) The person on the other end of the line said something on the order of, "Well, yes, I suppose it would."

The next-day headline, which predictably became a mini-sensation in "News of the Weird" columns all over the world: "Pope Bans Vuvuzela."

It was great fun, even if each of the three words in that header was misleading. (The pope didn't do anything; this was more of a suggestion than a ban; and nobody specifically nixed vuvuzelas. Though, to be honest, Benedict probably ought to be grateful -- this is one instance in which the media made up something that probably helped his reputation.)

In the spirit of feeding the media beast, I'll present my answers to the four most common questions I've received about the trip. By no means does this add up to a comprehensive analysis of the most important points. Instead, it's a window into the questions reporters are asking, which may preview themes likely to loom large in media coverage.

1. Is this the most challenging trip of Benedict's papacy?

My basic answer is, "Don't flatter yourselves." This will be Benedict's 17th foreign trip, and not only is this probably not the most strenuous test he's faced, it's arguably not even his most demanding visit in Western Europe.

In terms of immediate context, Benedict's 2006 trip to Turkey was far more dicey -- his first to a Muslim nation, hard on the heels of his Regensburg speech which triggered fierce protest around the Islamic world. The pope's 2009 trip to Israel and the Palestinian Territories was also a high-wire act, both on the diplomatic and inter-religious levels.

Within Europe, Benedict's July 2006 trip to Spain was at least as potentially choppy, featuring his first-ever showdown with Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero -- seen by many European Catholics as an avatar of secularism on steroids. Spain's fierce anti-clerical rage is at least arguably more menacing for a pope than gentle English ridicule. (Remember the line from "A Man for All Seasons" -- "This isn't Spain, you know. This is England.")

That said, there are challenges aplenty awaiting Benedict.

After all, he's a religious conservative colliding with a fairly liberal, secular culture; a German visiting a country that fought two wars against Germany in the 20th century; a pope travelling to a place where ambivalence about the papacy is part of the DNA; and the head of the Catholic church visiting a culture where the main Catholic storyline of late has been about pedophile priests. All in all, it's a tough room.

Let's count the ways: High-profile atheists want the pope arrested for alleged complicity in covering up sexual abuse scandals. A Foreign Office bureaucrat has suggested that Benedict visit an abortion clinic or launch his own brand of condoms. There's a growing chorus of complaint about why British taxpayers should pay $18.5 million for the trip. Reportedly, British Catholics have been reluctant to pick up their share of the tab, or even to get tickets for the big events, despite the lure of marquee performers such as Susan Boyle. Human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robinson is publishing a book called The Case of the Pope, arguing that Benedict should be stripped of his status as "the one man left in the world who is above the law."
There will be some intra-Catholic noise. Advocates of women priests have paid for ads on fifteen red buses in London reading "Pope Benedict -- Ordain Women Now!" Next week, a group called Catholic Voices for Reform is holding a press conference to present Benedict with questions on matters such as "corruption" and "mindless obedience." Outside the Catholic fold, a mix of secularists, gay rights activists, and others plan to march in London on Sept. 18 under the banner of "Protest the Pope!" A smaller group is organizing a separate demonstration against his visit to the Twickenham neighborhood the day before.

If the question is whether Benedict XVI has his work cut out for him, the answer is "sure." I've written before that a papal trip anyplace in Western Europe these days is the sociological equivalent of a Gay Pride rally, in that Catholics too now perceive themselves as a misunderstood minority obliged to practice a politics of identity. Recently Edmund Adamus, director of pastoral affairs in the diocese of Westminster, said that Britain has become more anti-Catholic than Saudi Arabia, China and Pakistan, because of its embrace of a "culture of death". Catholic composer James MacMillan, who has produced a new setting of the Mass to mark the papal visit, has called anti-Catholicism "the new anti-Semitism of the liberal intellectual." Whatever backlash awaits Benedict in the U.K. will only strengthen such perceptions.

If the question, however, is whether this trip presents a set of headaches the pope has never seen before, the answer is basically "Been there, done that."
As a footnote, the potential for blowback in Scotland is probably less significant. A recent national poll found only two percent of Scots are "strongly opposed" to the pope's visit, while 31 percent said they're "very or fairly favorable" and 63 percent are indifferent.

2. Overall, what do you expect?

Prediction is a hazardous business, but here's one I feel safe in making: Whatever the consensus public expectations are for the trip, Benedict will almost certainly exceed them. I have three reasons for saying so.

First, when Benedict hits the road, he benefits from the bar being set low. People know his papacy has been marred by a series of PR debacles, so anything that happens short of absolute disaster can be spun as a success. Further, most people have never seen the pope before, and what they've heard second-hand usually isn't good -- that he's cold, aloof, authoritarian, repressive, etc. Measured against that caricature, contact with the real man always seems a pleasant surprise. (Perhaps this is the genius behind the Vatican's apparent PR bungling: they've created a scenario in which Benedict basically can't lose.)

Second, anti-papal protestors usually have a bigger voice in the media than their sociological footprint on the ground, so predictions of massive demonstrations almost never materialize. The few who turn out to jeer seem a footnote in comparison to the enthusiastic crowds greeting the pope, especially because the supporters will be in every camera frame, while the protestors won't get within a mile of the action. The vast majority of folk who are unenthusiastic about the pope's presence will simply ignore the trip, rather than mounting barricades.

Third, Benedict is not going to ride into town and give people excuses to get mad. This is not going to be Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi's recent 48-hour whirlwind visit to Rome, where he hired a bevy of female escorts to listen to him proclaim that Islam should be the religion of Europe, demanded that EU nations pay him $6.5 billion a year to stem the flow of illegal immigrants from Africa, blew off a meeting with Italian Bishop Domenico Mogavero, and then took off -- leaving behind a chorus of protests that the visit amounted to a "national humiliation."

That's just not the style of Benedict XVI, who is an unfailingly gracious and humble guest. The road is actually where Benedict's commitment to "affirmative orthodoxy," meaning the most positive spin possible on the traditional Christian message, becomes especially palpable. Each time people have gone into a papal trip expecting the Ali-Frazier prizefight -- the Cologne World Youth Day in '05, for example, or the meeting with Zapatero in '06 -- what they got instead was "I'd like to buy the world a Coke."

Benedict is likely to extol the riches of English history and culture, declaring the tensions opened by the English Reformation closed. He'll express gratitude for progress in Anglican/Catholic relations and reaffirm his commitment to Christian unity. He'll stress the desire of the church to be a positive force for the common good. He'll also try to offer a shot in the arm to the six million Catholics in the U.K., particularly by lifting up the example of Cardinal John Henry Newman, set for beatification in Birmingham on the last day of the papal trip.

All that will strike even dubious Scots or Brits as more friendly than they expected, and will probably produce a short-term boost in the pope's favorability ratings. (After his April 2008 trip to the United States, which was also a laboratory experiment in affirmative orthodoxy, two national polls found a ten-point bump in the percentage of Americans who approved of Benedict's job performance.)
In a recent piece for the English magazine Standpoint, American Catholic writer George Weigel predicted that "Those who expect to meet 'God's Rottweiler' will find instead a shy, soft-spoken man of exquisite manners … Those looking for a hidebound clerical enforcer will meet instead a man of deep faith, a gentle pastor." Based on my experience of covering papal trips, that's about right.

For all those reasons, the trip may not be a home run, but it's unlikely to be a strikeout either. (Or, to use a cricket image, since this is the U.K., Benedict's not going to be a "walking wicket." I presume someone will tell me if I used that term correctly.)

3. Will the sex abuse crisis overshadow the trip?

Probably not. It didn't in the United States or Australia in 2008, both places where the sexual abuse crisis has been more intense. Things have been so comparatively calm in the U.K. that Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton recently suggested that Pope Benedict "may well be relieved to be coming to a place where, unlike some of his other recent trips, there are no big problems for him to sort out."
Here's the main reason, however, why the crisis won't overshadow the trip: A papal journey is one of those rare moments when the Vatican is adept at offering the media another story to do.

While the pope is in town, there will be plenty of compelling pictures and sound: Benedict XVI meeting the Queen, visiting the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace, standing in the spot in Westminster Hall where St. Thomas More was condemned, praying at the tomb of St. Edward the Confessor, and on and on. That's as opposed to the Vatican's usual modus operandi during a crisis, which is to hunker down and wait for the storm to pass, issuing only terse statements, while rogue officials offer unsolicited remarks which often make things worse.
In his Standpoint piece, Weigel complained that "seemingly endless stories of clerical sexual abuse, and the mismanagement of these sins and crimes by Catholic bishops, are not the only story to be told about the church at the end of the first decade of the 21st century." He's right, of course, but the PR reality is that the Vatican is often unable to provide an alternative narrative. A papal trip is the towering exception.

Three other variables may determine how big a deal the crisis seems while Benedict is on the ground.

First, some observers believe that media outlets are planning to reveal new abuse cases in the U.K. just ahead of Benedict's arrival, thus triggering a new cycle of the crisis, akin to what happened in Germany earlier this year. Writing in the Guardian on Monday, Paul Donovan opined that such revelations "would shoot to pieces the strategy that has attempted to separate the church in the U.K. from the rest of the world on child abuse, arguing it acted properly and put in place rigid guidelines."

Second, Cardinal Seán Brady of Ireland has announced plans to accompany the pope in Scotland and England. Brady has been under fire for his role in the massive sexual abuse crisis in Ireland, including charges that in the 1970s he participated in putting the victims of a notorious abuser under a gag order. If Brady is spotted at the pope's right hand, it could spark a new round of commentary about how Benedict "doesn't get it."

Third, the pope himself could put the crisis in the spotlight by holding a meeting with victims. While these encounters are always staged off-camera, at least some of the victims usually speak with the media afterwards, and in any event they make news. Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster recently said that "careful consideration" was being given to holding such a meeting in England. If it happens, it would be Benedict's fifth session with victims, after meetings during previous trips to the United States, Australia and Malta, and one in Rome with members of Canadian "first nations" abused in church-run institutions.

By now, these meetings draw mixed reviews. The pope gets credit for reaching out, and the victims who take part are often moved. Others, however, will object that it's empty PR. The Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests, the main victims' group in the States, put out a preemptive press release ahead of the U.K. trip asserting that such meetings "change nothing and protect no one," and believing they do is "a sad and silly and reckless assumption."

4. What's Benedict's agenda for the trip?

In the sense in which that question is usually intended, the answer is: "None." This isn't a typical state visit, in which Benedict is hoping to persuade the English Parliament to adopt this law or block that one, or aiming to wrest some commercial or foreign policy concession from the Cameron government. There is no short-term check-list, which means that there will be no way to assess on Sept. 20 whether or not the trip was a success.

That's not to say, of course, that Benedict is traveling to Scotland and England just for the hell of it.

The pope legendarily thinks in centuries, and so his "agenda" in the U.K., as elsewhere, is decidedly long-term. His vision of Christianity in the West today is as a "creative minority" (a term he borrows from British historian Arnold Toynbee). By "minority," Benedict means a church that's no longer a culture-shaping majority but rather a subculture, which of course is no more than a concession to sociological reality. By "creative," he means a subculture clear about its own identity, and passionate about infusing that energy and vision into society.
Building a "creative minority" is thus a two-stage project:

• Fostering a strong sense of Catholic identity by emphasizing traditional markers of Catholic thought, speech and practice;

• Applying that identity to broader social, cultural and political debates, rather than retreating into a ghetto.

In broad strokes, Benedict's "agenda" is to advance the creative minority project in the United Kingdom.

What might that mean in practice? Perhaps Peter Sanford, a former editor of the Catholic Herald, had it about right in his piece in Sunday's Guardian: "Pope Benedict may want to stiffen the collective Catholic resolve." Sanford sketched the pragmatic, middle-of-the-road ethos of English Catholicism, often terribly concerned with being socially acceptable. He then quoted an English bishop to the effect that maybe he and his colleagues need to engage in "a little more searching and even brutal debate" with the broader culture.

That, Sanford opined, "will be music to the pope's ears.

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