At times, th This is by no means an enjoyable read. This book made me so angry at the pope that I actually threw it across the room one night. A problem that is as old as religion itself. How are the abusive preists getting away with it, what is cannon law, and how does it protect them? While The Case of the Pope has targeted an individual, the real story of the abuse scandal is that of an institution that went awry and needs to substantially reform the handling of these scandals. For British readers less familiar with the abuse scandal the book was published to coincide with the Pope's visit it will be a shocking eye-opener. That duty includes the duty of handing over those reasonably suspected of child sex abuse to the secular authorities for trial and, if convicted, for punishment.
It is this duty that Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, a. Summed up nicely with a p Forensic analysis of the controversy surrounding the Vatican's lack of action over child abuse within the Catholic Church and Ratzinger's responsibility in it all. And given that I am a Catholic law student, he did a pretty damned good job. As Pope, Benedict moved swiftly to remove Fr Maciel from office, to spend his days in penance and prayer. He serves as a Master of the Bench at the Middle Temple, a recorder, and visiting professor at Queen Mary, University of London. It is enough to make a person feel crazy.
While The Case of the Pope has targeted an individual, the real story of the abuse scandal is that of an institution that went awry and needs to substantially reform the handling of these scandals. Given the global occurence of these offences, it falls to the Church to defend itself in a court of international law for crimes against humanity. It puts Ratzinger squarely in the frame -- Lisa Appignanesi Geoffrey Robertson is a brilliant lawyer and it shows. Read this book, its erudition is sure and its case compelling. He is involved to a disturbing degree. He manages to separate the religion from the actions of its leaders, resulting in a powerful, yet respectful, piece of work. Robertson shows how the Vatican has claimed that this is the only law to which preists should be subject, and shows us why this isn't a law at all in any meaningful seanse.
The first three quarters of the books are mostly facts; the legal technicalities only surface later on. He is also highly critical of the Pope's response to abuse in Ireland and in particular the recent attempts by the Pope to address the situation. The Case of the Pope addresses a horrifying problem in our world, and you will likely find yourself angry that so little has been done to address it. But it is also a consequence of the mistaken recognition of this religious organization as a state, with powerful diplomatic connections to governments and a beatific head to whom political leaders make pilgrimages in order to be blessed. Robertson demolishes, one-by-one, the defences the Vatican have used to excuse themselves from the charges of abetting child-rape over the years with controlled and pin-pointed anger throughout.
The Pope had a legal duty to ensure that perpetrators were punished and that duty was breached by imposing Canon Law secrecy and moving priests around. And in each country the abusing priest, when discovered, was dealt with in a similar way — moved away from the initial victim s , usually enabling him to abuse again, while his bishop would keep his offences secret. The damage they are doing is beyond sustainable. Although there are legal questions raised and answered throughout it never becomes too complex to follow and as a whole constructs a thorough run through of the scandal, dealing with it in detail from 2002 onwards. The 245 paragraphs yes, they are numbered, just as a memorial would be are replete with quotable quotes, some dripping with scathing sarcasm, others brilliantly insightful in their juxtaposition, and all witty and incisive. The clear light of his style - painstaking, thorough, dispassionate - throws into cruel relief the truth from which the Pope cannot hide -- Richard Dawkins He writes clearly, at times passionately, as counsel for the prosecution.
And Robertson weaves the facts masterfully and fairly, dealing deftly with counter-facts and marshalling supporting facts to devastating effect. There are also books on the psychology of why people maintain superstitious beliefs even in the face of overwhelming contrary evidence but I have not yet got around to any. It is a very well written and thought provoking tract that — with the exception of the appendices — does not descend into legal jargon that those of us without a law degree would find difficult to follow. The Case Of The Pope is a must for all parents and children. They are seen as meddlers and interferers with international politics, the thing that the previous Fascist-supporting popes agreed not to do when they signed the Concordat with Mussolini in 1929. He goes astray here and there most grievously in supporting scuttlebutt that Pope John Paul the First was poisoned but for the most part, he constructs a solid indictment against the Catholic Church and Pope Benny when he Robertson's title is a little misleading as it is just as much about the Vatican and the power structures as it is Pope Benny. This is a one-sided account that makes no apology for being partial.
The approach can be explained by the intimate, fatherly role of bishops to their priests and by the Christian emphasis on forgiveness. But the Church approach would have been a lot less likely to offend Robertson if it had shown similar fatherly concern for the abuse victims. This is not a book. Proof of the efficacy of canon law. Advocacy is unabashedly biased, and justly so, if the adversarial system is touted as justice.
The reference to Amnesty is interesting since in Ireland it is now headed by Colm O'Gorman, himself a victim of clerical abuse. So my original point was lost in sensation. Robertson's overview of the international situation is devastating. As a Catholic I found this book harrowing as it has made me question what the Church actually stands for and whether any Catholic can in good conscience continue to defend this corrupt and morally bankrupt institution. Is the Vatican legally accountable, is it a state, and if it was does that give it immunity? Published periodically between 1937 and 1989, Penguin Specials covered subjects of public concern and The Case of the Pope is in that tradition.