Good morning, Mr Ratzinger, please come with us

No doubt it will just be filed and forgotten, but it’s good to see, all the same…

Two German lawyers have initiated charges against Pope Benedict XVI at the International Criminal Court, alleging crimes against humanity…

They claim the Pope “is responsible for the preservation and leadership of a worldwide totalitarian regime of coercion which subjugates its members with terrifying and health-endangering threats”.

They allege he is also responsible for “the adherence to a fatal forbiddance of the use of condoms, even when the danger of HIV-Aids infection exists” and for “the establishment and maintenance of a worldwide system of cover-up of the sexual crimes committed by Catholic priests and their preferential treatment, which aids and abets ever new crimes”.

Well yes, he does, but…there’s a Special Dispensation for popes. No one else, just popes. So sorry.

They claim the Catholic Church “acquires its members through a compulsory act, namely, through the baptism of infants that do not yet have a will of their own”. This act was “irrevocable” and is buttressed by threats of excommunication and the fires of hell.

It was “a grave impairment of the personal freedom of development and of a person’s emotional and mental integrity”. The Pope was “responsible for its preservation and enforcement and, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of his Church, he was jointly responsible” with Pope John Paul II.

That’s the ur-crime, of course. They’ll never make it stick, but it is the biggy. That expropriation of people’s minds at birth and continuation of it via threats is a truly horrible arrangement, which the world allows only because it’s so accustomed to it. Maybe this indictment will make people a little less accustomed to it. Maybe this Verfremdungseffekt will jostle the world out of its complacency. That would be something.

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