“Another official said: ‘While this was not the main consideration [really?], it certainly is a corollary, a natural result’
“After he resigns, Benedict will no longer be the sovereign monarch of the State of the Vatican City, which is surrounded by Rome, but will retain Vatican citizenship and residency.

“That would continue to provide him immunity under the provisions of the Lateran Pacts while he is in the Vatican and even if he jaunts into Italy as a Vatican citizen.

“The 1929 Lateran Pacts between Italy and the Holy See, which established Vatican City as a sovereign state, said Vatican City would be ‘invariably and in every event considered as neutral and inviolable territory.’

“There have been repeated calls for Benedict’s arrest over sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.
“When Benedict went to Britain in 2010, British author and atheist campaigner Richard Dawkins asked authorities to arrest the pope to face questions over the Church’s child abuse scandal. Dawkins and the late British-American journalist Christopher Hitchens commissioned lawyers to explore ways of taking legal action against the pope. Their efforts came to nothing because the pope was a head of state and so enjoyed diplomatic immunity.

“In 2011, victims of sexual abuse by the clergy asked the International Criminal Court to investigate the pope and three Vatican officials over sexual abuse.
“The New York-based rights group Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and another group, Survivor’s Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), filed a complaint with the ICC alleging that Vatican officials committed crimes against humanity because they tolerated and enabled sex crimes. The ICC has not taken up the cases but has never said why. It generally does not comment on why it does not take up cases.

“The Vatican has consistently said that a pope cannot be held accountable for cases of abuse committed by others because priests are employees of individual dioceses around the world and not direct employees of the Vatican. It says the head of the church cannot be compared to the CEO of a company.
“Victims groups have said Benedict, particularly in his job as the head of the Vatican’s doctrinal department, turned a blind eye to the overall politics [?] of local Churches, which moved abusers from parish to parish instead of defrocking them and handing them over to authorities.

“The Vatican had denied this. The pope has apologized for abuse in the Church, has met with abuse victims on many of his trips, and ordered a major investigation into abuse in Ireland [what about all the other countries?]
“But groups representing some of the victims say the Pope will leave office with a stain in his legacy because he was in positions of power in the Vatican for more than 3 decades, first as a cardinal and then as pope, and should have done more.

“As recently as last month, the former archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahoney, was stripped by his successor of all public and administrative duties after thousands of pages of files detailing abuse in the 1980s were made public.
“Mahony, who was archbishop of Los Angeles from 1985 until 2011, has apologized for the ‘mistakes’ [not sins?] he made as archbishop, saying he had not been equipped to deal with the problem of sexual misconduct [?] involving children. The Pope was not named in that case.

“In 2007, the Los Angeles archdiocese, which serves 4 million Catholics, reached a $660 million civil settlement with more than 500 victims of child molestation, the biggest agreement of its kind in the United States.
“Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the pope ‘gave the fight against sexual abuse as new impulse, ensuring that new rules were put in place to prevent future abuse and to listen to victims. That was a great merit [??] on his papacy and for that we will be grateful.’”

(Reporting by Philip Pulllella; Additional reporting by Robin Pomeroy; Edited by Simon Robinson and Giles Elgood).

“Pope’s brother: Pontiff was troubled by butler’s revelations

Source: GlobalBalita Feb. 16, 2013 / Politics & Government

“As Catholics worldwide come to terms with the news that Pope Benedict XVI is abdicating his position, becoming the first pope so do in more than 700 years [600, more accurately], George Ratzinger, the pope’s brother, says the aging process is impacting him ‘body and soul.’ NBC’s Richard Engel reports.

By Carlo Angerer and Ian Johnston
NBC News

“Pope Benedict XVI was troubled by ‘some great challenges’ during his time in office—including allegations of corruption within the church that were illegally exposed by his former butler and his relationship with a controversial Catholic brotherhood—the pontiff’s brother said Tuesday.
“Speaking to reporters in Germany, George Ratzinger said the pope was ‘doing relatively well’ and his announcement Monday that he was going to stand down had not had an effect on his health.

“On Monday, Benedict, 85, explained his resignation, saying that the papacy required ‘strength of mind and body’ and his had deteriorated in recent months. On Tuesday, the Vatican acknowledged for the first time that the pope has had a pacemaker for years and that its battery was replaced a few months ago in secret, Reuters reported.

‘But you notice that the aging process impacts body and soul, and especially on his strength,’ Ratzinger said Tuesday. ‘And he thinks that with a reduced workload he couldn’t carry on this great responsibility, that a younger person is needed to capture the problems of today’s time and who has the power to do what has to he done.’

“Ratzinger said that the pope’s time in office [Note: the Papacy is an office] had ‘created great challenges for him,’ highlighting two particular issues that concerned his brother.
‘Within the church a lot of things happened, which brought up troubles, for example the relationship to the Pius Brotherhood or the irregularities within the Vatican, where the butler had let known indiscretions,’ he said.

‘These were emotional years, but with God’s help and his own commitment, I think he mastered it rather well,’ he added.
“Ratzinger did not specify the pope’s issues with the Pius Brotherhood, or Society of St.Pius X as the group is formally known.
“But in late December, Bishop Bernard Fellay, head of the group, described Jews as ‘the enemies of the church’ to widespread condemnation from within and outside the Catholic Church. Jesuit Father Federico Lomabardi, the Vatican spokesman, reportedly said it was ‘absolutely unacceptable, impossible to define Jews as enemies of the church.’

“On October, the pope’s former butler Paolo Gabriele was given and 18-month prison sentence in the so-called ‘Vatileaks’ case, after he was found guilty of stealing thousands of Vatican documents—including some of Benedict’s private papers and letters alleging corruption within the church—while working for the pontiff.

“Some of the papers were leaked to the media and, in court, Gabriele said he acted out of concern for the church and the pope. The pope pardoned Gabriele just before Christmas.
“On a brighter note, Ratzinger said foreign trips has also been ‘important’ to the pope, enabling him ‘to have pastoral impact, to find friends and to create understanding for the message of the Gospel.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

“Pope Benedict: Resigning for the ‘good of the church’

By Eric J. Lyman
Special for USA Today

Pope Benedict XVI makes his first public appearance since announcing his resignation

“VATICAN CITY – Catholics in St. Peter’s Square were emotionally overcome on this Ash Wednesday after Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful that he was resigning for ‘the good of the church.’
‘Today was the first time and probably the last time I saw Pope Benedict in real life, said Annalaura Orsini, 29, a student from Umbria, who was among those in attendance. ‘I don’t think the story was true when I first heard it.
‘Now I feel sad for his suffering.’

“Thousands of people arrived at St. Peter’s Basilica to hear the Pope’s traditional Wednesday lesson on church doctrine and gave the 85-year old Benedict a standing ovation. Many in the audience had tears in their eyes.
“A huge banner reading ‘Grazie Santita’ (Thank you Your Holiness) was strung up in the back of the room.
“Speaking softly in Italian, Benedict thanked people for their prayers, saying he had ‘physically felt (them) in these days that haven’t been easy for me.’ He asked that the faithful ‘continue to pray for me, the church, and the future pope.’

“On his decision Monday to resign Feb. 28 after 8 years as pope, he said: ‘I did this in full liberty for the good of the church.’
“Benedict sent out a tweet that did not discuss his resignation but talked of the Catholic season of Lent, a time of repentance* that begins with Ash Wednesday leading up to Easter Sunday.

“’During the season of Lent which begins today, we renew our commitment to the path of conversion, making more room for God in our lives,’ the pope tweeted to more than 1.5 million followers of his @Pontifex handle.
“It was cold but sunny at St.Peter’s Square as people milled about and looked up to take photos of Benedict’s apartment on the northern side of the piazza where the lights were on inside. There was a line of tourists waiting to get into the church.

“Enza Priori, 55, a high school history teacher, was surrounded by students she had brought to St. Peter’s. ‘This is history and I told the students it was something they should see. We arrived at the very end of the blessing and went in to tour the basilica after. It was emotional to come today.’ One of the pupils, Gianmarco, 16, said: “One day I’ll tell my children I was here.’

“Spending 10 days in Rome with a group of friends, Milly Anderson-Zellars from Grand Rapids, Mich., said she understood the pope’s decision. ‘The poor man, I’m almost his age,’ said the 79-year old retired store owner and widow. ‘I know every day can be hard. I hope he doesn’t suffer too much. It broke my heart to see the previous one, John Paul, suffer every day.’ ‘What a holy and dignified man. God bless him.’

“At his catechism lesson earlier in the day, a chorus of Italian school children sang Benedict a hymn in German and nuns waved papal flags. Benedict, a native of Bavaria, thanked them for singing a hymn ‘particularly dear to me.’
“The Rev. Reinaldo Braga Jr., a Brazilian priest studying theology in Rome, said he was saddened when he first heard the news. ‘The atmosphere was funereal but nobody had died, ‘ he said. ‘But then I realized that it was a wise act for the entire church. He taught the church and the world that the papacy is not about power but about service.’

“Benedict was the oldest pope to be appointed since Clement XII in 1730 when he was elected in April 2005. He is the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years, effective Feb. 28. A conclave of the church’s 117 cardinals under age 80 will be held to appoint a new pope. The Vatican said that a decision should be reached before Easter.
“The Vatican said no serious medical ailment was behind Benedict’s decision to retire. He has had a pacemaker for years and has appeared frail and unsteady in recent Masses.

“Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said Benedict’s final official acts as pope will include audiences with the Romanian and Guatemalan presidents this week and the Italian president on Feb. 23.
“He intends to live a life of prayer in a converted monastery on the far northern edge of the Vatican gardens, the Vatican said. Benedict’s final general audience appearance will be Feb. 27 and may draw great crowds.
“Contributing: USA Today’s Kim Hjelmgaard; the Associated Press.

“The Siege on the Vatican

Source: Perryscope by Perry Diaz on GlobalBalita Feb. 20, 2013 issue, “The Siege on the Vatican” http://globalbalita.com/2013/02/20/the-siege-on-the-vatican/: (continued in Page 3)