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International Criminal Court rejects request to investigate Vatican officials

By on Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said the ICC's decision had been expected (Photo: CNS)

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said the ICC's decision had been expected (Photo: CNS)

The International Criminal Court has declined a request from victims of clergy sexual abuse to investigate Vatican officials and their responsibility for the abuse of children by Catholic priests around the world.

In a two-page letter dated May 31, the court told the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents the victims, that the offences alleged in the survivor’s petition “do not appear to fall within the jurisdiction of the court.”

The request from victims of clergy of sexual abuse was filed in September 2011 and targeted Pope Benedict XVI and other top Vatican officials, saying that they “tolerate and enable the systematic widespread concealing of rape and child sex crimes throughout the world.”

Advocates for abuse victims pledged to continue gathering evidence in anticipation of filing another request with the court based at The Hague. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said that the outcome was expected.

“I never doubted this would be the response (of the ICC), given the total groundlessness of the accusation,” Father Lombardi said.

Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, which sought the investigation, said in a statement: “We are confident that the ICC will see sufficient evidence that high ranking Catholic officials are still knowingly enabling predators to harm and endanger children across the world, while concealing these heinous crimes even more effectively.”

She added that the organisation will continue to work to hold the church responsible for how it handled reports of abuse.

Abuse victims asked the court to consider filing charges of “crimes against humanity” against Pope Benedict XVI, both as Pope and as the previous prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Others named in the filing were Cardinal Anglo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals and former Vatican secretary of state; Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of state and former secretary of the doctrinal congregation; and Cardinal William J Levada, who was prefect of the congregation at the time.

  • buckingham88

    There has been an attempt to hold all Catholics responsible for the crimes committed by some Catholics, priests,clergy and lay, without any apparent cap on the level of compensation.This would be through the mechanism of holding every Catholic culpable and so therefore liable to give compensation. There is a punitive sense to this which would mean that limits to compensation, as distinct from actions against the criminal, such as jailing,would exceed any compensation allowed by any civil jurisdiction in the Commonwealth of Australia. This would amount to active discrimination against Catholics for their beliefs, which among other things reject sexual actions against minors.

    Apart from being unconstitutional, this is contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, showing how far those who on one hand seek justice for the victims, fail to extend it to those totally innocent of any crime or consent, particularly Catholics.

    If such a ‘principle’ of compensation, guilt by the vaguest association supported by in some cases, trial by media,were to survive scrutiny, no one would be safe from any compensation.

    All car makers would be liable if Volkswagen electromechanical gear sticks jammed.

    If a show was cancelled everyone associated to the ticket holders would be able to claim compensation from every organisation that put on shows. The West End would pay.
    Judging by the Op Ed this is a many Headed Hydra, although manifesting in different forms.
    The process for investigation and compensation in Australia is now robust.If is not the CC in Australia want’s to know.
    Apart from cleaning out the Aegean Stables of pedophiles, the CC in Australia is doing us all a major service preventing the inception of ‘unintended consequences’ namely

    the holding of persons who had no relationship to the crime, other than that they worshiped the same God , guilty.
    Next it will be the Pogrom.

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    Another LIE swatted down like a fly, not that this will prevent the gullible or the malicious from continuing to spread it about…

  • Benedict Carter

    ” …. targeted Pope Benedict XVI and other top Vatican officials, saying that they “tolerate and enable the systematic widespread concealing of rape and child sex crimes throughout the world”, said the suit.

    Jabba says it’s a lie, and I understand why. Nevertheless, it’s true, isn’t it, that a number of highly-placed clerics aided and abetted predatory homosexual priests they themselves were involved with or had ordained, others shunted them around even knowing what they had done and others still covered it up. OK, I know that the societal understanding wasn’t there (so they say), that a couple of decades ago it was deemed a psychological problem.

    I think saying that is a giant cop-out. Why on earth were such men allowed to remain as priests at all?

    At least in America, the Bishops knew all about this affliction, they had been given the warnings from the 1950′s onwards that the problem existed, was growing, and that those involved were recidivists who had little or no understanding that what they were doing was wrong.

    Paul VI for sure knew about it, was appalled and beefed up Canon Law. Many Bishops, not only in America, custodians of that Canon Law, then flagrantly ignored it.

    I think the Vatican can count itself EXTREMELY lucky to have got away with it. Who appointed all these men, after all? It wasn’t the victims!

  • Jimmy

    And what if the managers and owners of Volkswagen where knowingly and actively hiding the fact that its employees where raping children in the Volkswagen Day Care centre?

    You wouldn’t complain if Volkswagen were made to pay money to the victims would you? Or is that blaming innocent VWs owners? I guess the price of VWs will have to go up to pay the victims.

  • buckingham88

    I am sure Volkswagen owners would be surprised if they were made to pay for someone else’s crimes.
    But then no one would expect them to pay anyway.
    But then, that’s rather my point.

  • TheBlueWarrior

    Presumably then, you visit all the applicable comment sites to voice your revulsion of the BBC, state school systems, social services and other institutions where abuse took place in the last 60 years and was covered up. Or perhaps it’s the Catholic part rather than the abuse part that makes you sick. Still paying your license fee to watch TV? Shame, shame for your support.

  • guestguy

    “Why on earth were such men allowed to remain priests at all?” Certainly, all priests regardless of their rank (bishop/cardinal) should have all their duties stripped of them “laicization”. Though it is important to note that once you are a priest, you cannot lose your priesthood, even through laicization they still have all the abilities of a priest.

  • guestguy

    I forgot to mention, though I think it is obvious enough from the context, that I only meant priests who abused minors sexually to be stripped from their duties. Of course there should be some kind of reprimand for those who although they themselves didn’t abuse anyone they covered up those who did.

  • Phil

    I assure you that plenty of well-meaning good honest people will believe it too.

  • Jimmy

    Yes I do write complaints where ever I see such cruelty to children not getting prosecuted. I don’t live in the UK so, no, I don’t pay a TV license. However in my home country, Ireland, the vast majority of the abuse was by catholic priests in state schools and other institutions. Little has come to light, that I’m aware of, otherwise. Except for the abuse the nuns used to give out but they are catholic too. My mom left school at 12 because of the daily abuse the nuns used to give to the kids. My grandfather almost punched a priest at my dad’s school when my dad came home bruised from school one day.
    And yes I am biased against the catholic church but it has been a blight on my country and I can’t wait for the day it is gone. Won’t be to much longer. One more generation and there will be neither priests to run the churches nor people willing to attend.

  • Tridentinus

    Take the trouble to read and digest the post before replying.

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    Satan is not known as the Liar or Deceiver for nothing.