By Kevin D. Annett, with The International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State (Brussels-London)
By withdrawing its papal “ambassador” to Ireland this week in response to that government’s just efforts to make the Catholic church answerable under the law for its crimes against children, the Vatican has given the Irish a rare opportunity to end the reign of terror of an oppressive medieval institution.
Ironically, this moment also provides Catholics themselves the chance to return their church to what it should be: an actual religious body freed from the special immunities and privileges of a political power, and the corruption such power brings.
There has never been a valid argument for Rome’s fictitious status as a “state”, enjoying all of the privileges but none of the obligations of a nation. But now, the repeated use of that power to commit horrible crimes against children, and others, and then absolve itself and the rapists and killers it shields within its ranks, has made the Vatican a criminal, rogue body under every international standard of law and morality.
Unfortunately, most of the world’s nations are aiding and abetting that rogue body by funding it, and affording it special rights and privileges, in particular that “diplomatic recognition” that effectively places Rome above and beyond the law: “a boys-only club where the members can rape and torture the innocent with impunity”, to quote one American lawyer.
It is for this reason that the Vatican’s petulant severing of diplomatic relations with Ireland yesterday is such a ray of light, and should encourage that nation’s leaders to accept this ending of the special privileges of Rome, and bring about the free and secular society that alone can protect children from gangsters in clerical robes.
Apparently, the scuttlebutt around Dublin is that more than one senior politician is considering precisely such a course of action, following Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s clear declaration in the Dail last week that priests could face prison time if they fail to report the violation and rape of children in their parish.
Unfortunately, as Kenny knows, as long as the Church of Rome retains its legal and diplomatic privileges, enforcing such a law will be difficult, if not impossible. Bringing child-raping priests to justice is frankly unattainable without a fundamental change in the relationship of church and state.
Historically, the Catholic church’s special privileges in Ireland were part of that culture’s defense against the British Empire. But that era is long since past. And many Catholics in Ireland are in fact looking to a national church of their own, free of Rome’s dictates, to recover the traditions and beliefs that were crushed when Roman Christianity imposed itself on the island more than eight centuries ago.
I heard precisely such sentiments when I spoke at University College in Cork last October, and engaged in a public debate with a Vatican spin doctor named Jack Bolero.
There in the traditional heartland of Irish Catholicism, the campus students’ society had organized the debate around a single question: Should the Pope be Arrested? Jack was asked to argue No, and I, delightedly, was given the Yes side.
I won the debate. Nearly two-thirds of the several hundred students gathered for the debate voted at the end of it that yes, Joseph Ratzinger should be detained for questioning about his protecting of rapists in his church.
“That wouldn’t have happened a few years ago, but people are fed up with the Catholic church now” one of the organizers said to me later over a pint in the local pub.
“We can have our faith without having a pope. That’s what even the old people are saying around town.”
The papacy, of course, is not one man, but an enormous global corporation with annual revenue in the hundreds of billions of dollars, thanks in part to the special financial “concordats” that nations, including Ireland, still maintain with Rome.
The real test of the sincerity of Enda Kenny’s words, and the resolve of the Irish people for spiritual sovereignty, will be whether these concordats are ended, and the vast wealth and lands stolen by the Vatican from people around the world are returned to them.
The Vatican is the source of some of the bloodiest conquests and wars in human history, and not just against children. Within the ranks of our International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State (ITCCS) are members of indigenous nations in Canada, America, Australia and elsewhere whose children were massacred in Jesuit-established Indian “boarding schools”. And growing evidence indicates that the Vatican is deeply involved in present day baby trafficking networks through lucrative child adoption agencies run with church subsidies.
All of these victims have the same interest to see the Vatican de-fanged and brought under the rule of law as do the people of Ireland. That is why what the Irish and their government do now to end forever papal immunity and Rome’s control over the life of their nation is of vital importance to the entire world.
Taoiseach Kenny can stay true to the hopes of his people by ending the diplomatic status of the Vatican in Ireland; licensing all clergy as public servants answerable to the people and not the church; and canceling the tax exempt status of the church along with Dublin’s financial concordat with Rome.
At the end of the Cork debate, an elderly woman came up to me with a deep scowl on her face, and barked,
“Every one of them damned priests should be castrated!”
I’ll settle for emasculating the chief rapist: Rome.