Vatican scoffs at Dawkins idea of arresting pope while in Britain
The Vatican said on Tuesday Pope Benedict was willing to meet more sexual abuse victims but not under media pressure and scoffed at calls that the pope should be arrested when he visits Britain in September.
A lawyer for British author and atheist campaigner Richard Dawkins said in London at the weekend he would try to have Pope Benedict arrested to face questions over accusations the Church covered up cases of sexual abuse of children by priests.
Asked about this at a briefing on the pope’s trip to Malta this weekend, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi scoffed.
“This is a bizarre idea to say the least. It looks like the intent is to make a public opinion splash. I think they should look for something more serious and concrete before we can respond to it,” he said. “The pope’s visit (to Britain) is a visit of state, and so it would be very strange if during a state visit the person who is invited to make a state visit is arrested.”
Also on Tuesday, police said a vandal spray-painted an abusive message overnight on the house in southern Germany in which Pope Benedict was born. The graffiti was a text sprayed in blue on the front door of the house in Marktl am Inn, in the predominantly Catholic state of Bavaria.
Police spokesman Konrad Rutzinger said the message seemed to be linked to the abuse scandals that have engulfed the Catholic Church, but declined to give details on its content. It had been painted over since being noticed early in the day, local police said in a statement. Read the full story here.