From yesterday’s edition of the British newspaper The Guardian:

Victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests have accused the pope, the Vatican secretary of state and two other high-ranking Holy See officials of crimes against humanity, in a formal complaint to the international criminal court (ICC).

The submission, lodged at The Hague on Tuesday, accuses the four men not only of failing to prevent or punish perpetrators of rape and sexual violence but also of engaging in the “systematic and widespread” practice of concealing sexual crimes around the world.

It includes individual cases of abuse where letters and documents between Vatican officials and others show a refusal to co-operate with law enforcement agencies seeking to pursue suspects, according to the Centre for Constitutional Rights (CCR), a US-based organisation that represents the claimants.

Pam Spees, human rights attorney with CCR, said: “The point of this is to look at it from a higher altitude. You zoom out and the practices are identical: whistleblowers are punished, the refusal of the Vatican to co-operate with law enforcement agencies. You see the protection of priests and leaving them in the ministry and because of these decisions other children are raped and sexually assaulted.”

This is not a publicity stunt, nor is it another example of the so-called liberal war on religion. It is simply a case of decent human beings standing up for justice. As I have previously written, and as detailed in CCR’s article, the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict XVI have committed terribly unethical and illegal acts, and should not be exempted from the law simply because they are religious.

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