Keeping Benedict from being arrested

The Vatican is concerned that after the pope resigns and is no longer the head of state and loses his immunity, he might be in danger of being brought to trial for the many crimes of the Catholic Church. Hence they are recommending that he stay within the confines of the Vatican and not travel to other countries where he might be subjected to arrest, the way that former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was when he traveled to England.

Pope Benedict’s decision to live in the Vatican after he resigns will provide him with security and privacy. It will also offer legal protection from any attempt to prosecute him in connection with sexual abuse cases around the world, Church sources and legal experts say.

“His continued presence in the Vatican is necessary, otherwise he might be defenseless. He wouldn’t have his immunity, his prerogatives, his security, if he is anywhere else,” said one Vatican official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“It is absolutely necessary” that he stays in the Vatican, said the source, adding that Benedict should have a “dignified existence” in his remaining years.

I doubt that he would be arrested but not doubt the Vatican is trying to make absolutely sure that such a thing never happens.


  1. Jockaira says

    Do not be so certain that the Pope would not be arrested or charged. In most US jurisdictions the Police or the District Attorney would have no choice if a citizen alleged an offense especially with a sworn affidavit detailing circumstances of the charges. I am sure that similar policies govern judicial structure in other countries, and since one can find offended Catholics and non-Catholics almost everywhere, the decision for the ex-Pope to live out his years in the relative safety of the Vatican is sound.
    In his post-Papal career he could serve as a diplomatic envoy or in a similar capacity to elude prosecution during travel in other states, but it is doubful that he would be unqualifiedly welcomed anywhere else in the world. It is more likely that an intended destination country would declare him persona non grata to avoid controversy.
    The Pope has effectively been banished.

  2. gridironmonger says

    Henry Kissinger is still walking free; I will not hold my breath waiting on Ratzinger’s arrest…

  3. Trebuchet says

    @Jockaira: If that was true, we should have seen dozens of church officials arrested in the United States for the same crime as Ratzo, covering up child molestation. Hasn’t happened.

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