a not so random thought

I posted some random thoughts yesterday on the news that American lawyers were trying to bring a case against Vatican leaders to the International Criminal Court. My thoughts were random, because I really wasn`t sure what to think. This morning, I found a more reasoned voice online. Michael Sean Winters, again over at National Catholic Reporter, wrote a scathing editorial called Shame on SNAP`s lawyers. He writes,

In Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, the crimes were ordered by political leaders. No one, so far as I know, has suggested that Pope Benedict XVI ordered any priest to rape a child. There is a difference, a moral difference, between a systematic attempt to slaughter a people and an effort to cover up the crimes of one’s subordinates. So far as I know, no one has been charged at the ICC with trying to cover up the genocide in Rwanda or the ethnic cleansing in Sarajevo. Those who have been charged perpetrated the crimes….

This legal effort to get the ICC involved not only holds out false hopes for the victims of clergy sex abuse, it is an offense against the thousands upon thousands of dead, maimed and raped victims of Milosevic’s crimes as well as the hundreds of thousands of victims of genocide in Rwanda. To treat other crimes like those crimes is to diminish the unique evil which considered rape and murder a means to an end.

This thoughtful and well-reasoned analysis was a much needed answer to my own uncertainty and discomfort with this news story. I encourage anyone who is interested to read Winter`s full editorial. And, of course, any thoughts or reflections are always welcomed! After all, that`s what dialogue is all about.

Intl Criminal Court urged to investigate Vatican officials | National Catholic Reporter

Lawyers today filed a petition with the International Criminal Court on behalf of clergy sex abuse victims urging an investigation of high-ranking Roman Catholic Church leaders, including Pope Benedict XVI, charging that the widespread sexual abuse by priests in various countries and the handling of those cases by bishops and authorities in the Vatican constitute widespread human rights abuses.

via Intl Criminal Court urged to investigate Vatican officials | National Catholic Reporter.

This news story is bound to kick-start many a debate. Is this a justified approach towards accountability? Is it merely a publicity move, with no chance of further action?

Here are some random thoughts,

  • I completely agree that rape and other forms of sexual violence are a crime against humanity, and need to be judged as such.
  • I also agree that the Church has much to answer for after decades of cover-ups, denials, and shuffling around of abusive priests.
  • Pondering history, I wonder how the Church would have fared post Crusade and Inquisition times if there had been an International Court at the time.
  • I`m puzzled at my own reaction to this story. On the one hand, I`m saddened to see my Church being equated with countries that have committed some of the worst horrors of our time. On the other hand, part of me is eager to see true accountability for the wide spread rapes committed by clergy around the world.
  • I find it interesting that American lawyers are eager to prosecute Church leaders through an International Criminal Court which is not supported by its own government.
I`d love to hear your own thoughts….random or not!