Great Britain has a history of unhappy relations with the Roman Catholic Church -- indeed, even today Roman Catholics are barred from becoming the Head of State of the United Kingdom (or Canada).
This truly insane suggestion -- arresting the Pope -- is exactly in line with long term British anti-Catholic agitation.
And the concept of Universal Jurisdiction, deriving as it does from Grotius and the concept of an Emperor, is somewhat excessive considering that Great Britain is having a hard time keeping it's own parts together -- one imagines an England without Scotland, Ireland or Wales asserting power over Germany because, presumably, Germany cannot look after itself? Perhaps England can look to the Raj and see about prosecuting spousal abuse in Pakistan?
Regardless, it is a crazy suggestion because (1) the Pope is an Head of State and immune -- regardless of what the UN says, the Vatican is a State; (2) even if the Pope did turn a blind eye to priestly abuse that does not qualify as a crime against humanity; and (3) it would be a splendid way to reignite the troubles in Ireland and make Roman Catholics realize they aren't really welcome in Great Britain.
Perhaps the last point is the most important but imagine the world reaction to the Pope in an English jail -- it's too absurd to contemplate.
Hitchens, Dawkins try for pope's arrest during U.K. visit
Joseph Brean, National Post Published: Sunday, April 11, 2010
A movement to arrest Pope Benedict XVI for international crimes against humanity when he arrives in Britain later this year went noisily public on Sunday, as celebrity atheist Richard Dawkins denied a report that he personally vowed to make the arrest.
Just as former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was arrested at a London hospital on a Spanish warrant under the novel legal concept of "universal jurisdiction," lawyers are assembling the case that Pope Benedict could be held on charges of crimes against humanity, specifically child sexual slavery.
The Sunday Times called it a planned "ambush" that could embarrass the British government and force an awkward confrontation with the courts over diplomatic immunity. Internationally, the Vatican is treated as a sovereign state for many purposes, including the signing of treaties, but its legal status is uncertain, and it sits at the United Nations only as an observer.
On his blog on Sunday, Prof. Dawkins denied telling The Sunday Times anything so "personally grandiloquent" as wanting to slap the cuffs on the pontiff himself, but he expressed
wholehearted support for the idea, which he credits to fellow deity slayer Christopher Hitchens.
Prof. Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist who has described the Roman Catholic Church as a "profiteering, woman-fearing, guilt-gorging, truth-hating, child-raping institution," wrote on his blog that he was "especially intrigued" by the challenge of the Pope's presumed diplomatic immunity as a sovereign head of state.
Likewise, Mr. Hitchens, the British-born American writer, was quoted in news reports as saying the Pope "is not above or outside the law. The institutionalized concealment of child rape is a crime under any law and demands not private ceremonies of repentance or church-funded payoffs, but justice and punishment."
The Pope plans to visit Britain in September, visiting London, Glasgow and Coventry.
Catholics may just have to sit out this anti-Papal media frenzy