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.”