An intellectual freedom blog with an emphasis on libraries and technology

Saturday, April 03, 2010

The Pope and the cover-up

After reading's This week in crazy featuring the latest attempts to salvage the personal reputation of Pope Ratzi, I discovered these gaping holes in what I consider logical thinking. See if you find any of this makes sense to you:

Logical conclusions.

In a recent attempt to "defend" the Pope against charges of personally participating in the cover-up of child-molesting police, the Vatican mouthpieces have provided us with the very entertaining spectacle of press releases praising the then Chief investigator's efforts to deal with pedophile priests. (Of course this was not his title, but "head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF)" is a lot to say, so I abbreviated it). Read some examples here and here.

Logic break folks - think about this for a second. What does the act of praising the person responsible for policing the ranks of the priesthood tell you in light of the extent of the misconduct (again, not really the best word to use, but then "vile, monstrous, sick, perverted and blatantly illegal abuse of power over children" is a lot to say, so I abbreviated it). This dwarfs GW Bush's infamous "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job" statement he made while people continued to die from neglect in New Orleans. What's next? Praising Emperor Nero's expert fire-fighting prowess?

Does anyone else see the pratfall of praising a chief participant in what can only be either a massive cover-up or a miserable failure? Liar or incompetent? Hmm.. It's got to be one or the other, so if I were the hapless PR flack trying to do damage control on this mess I would choose incompetence. He suffered from dementia that decade. He suffered some brain damage when a golf ball hit him in the head. We put him in charge of investigating priests' misconduct while he was in recovery after a month-long binge on tequila and peyote. Anything, and I mean anything but "he did a heck of a job cracking down on those pedophiles." Revelation of the blindingly obvious: No One did even a marginally adequate job of protecting children from monsters. And documented evidence continues to pile up that proves the Church perpetrated a cover-up of massive proportions. What elephant?

Hint to the Vatican's PR agents: praising someone in the face of such obvious facts and blatant failure (or criminal cover-up) ranks with putting out a fire with gasoline in the pantheon of blunders.

Now to the U.S. government's role in this mess (Oh, yes, they laid some interesting ground work relevant to recent developments in legal action against the Pope).

The argument (raised by the Vatican's lawyers) that he has immunity as a head of state from prosecution in the U.S. brings to mind the case of Manuel Noriega. Noriega was a head of state too, right? He served time in U.S. prison for drug offenses committed outside the U.S. Has anyone else pointed this out?

The U.S. has embarked upon a policy of extra-territorial prosecution, even to the point of using "extraordinary rendition" to capture individuals suspected of crimes against the United States committed outside of its borders. We have a prison in Guantanamo for such people. President Obama has neither shut it down nor repudiated its existence.

So, in principle, according the the precedents set down by the two Bushes and Obama, why not send a rendition team to Vatican City and drag the pedophile-protecting old monster back to the U.S. to stand trial? I know this would never happen, but it raises the question of selective prosecution. If you have an Arabic name that matches that of a suspected terrorist then you receive an all-expense paid trip to Gitmo (or worse). If you head a corrupt organization with a decades-long record of covering up for pedophiles, you receive a free pass. Think about it.

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