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Discussion 2 to Meditation 1028
There is no reason to disbelieve the official story.

by: JT

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Earlier this week, I put up a poster on the Intolerant Agnosticism website suggesting Pope Benedict XVI resigned because of the way his rant on intolerant agnosticism was received.

It's clearly a joke. I certainly wouldn't claim that I or any other critic of the Catholic Church had anything to do with the Pope resigning. And I have difficulty imagining that any critic of the Pope could seriously claim that their actions had caused Benedict to quit.

And yet, from three different sources, I am informed that some little organization calling itself the The International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State claims that its actions caused the Pope to quit. And they are serious.

According to them, they arranged with an unnamed European nation "to secure an arrest warrant against Joseph Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict, for crimes against humanity and ordering a criminal conspiracy." And because of this, the Cardinals forced the Pope to resign.*

They have followed this up with a claim that the Pope is planning on seeking "protection and immunity from prosecution" from the President of Italy and they have written to the President demanding he refuse. Obviously delusional. Clearly they don't understand the Vatican is a sovereign nation, and not part of Italy.** If Pope Benedict were to ask for immunity (and he won't), it would come from his successor. Nixon and Ford is the example that comes to mind.

While I sympathize with the ITCCS in wishing to take action against the Catholic Church and its hierarchy for financial crimes and for cover-up of child abuse, putting out the sort of nonsense they have in the past week is not the way to go about it. It thoroughly undermines what they claim to be trying to do. And these invented claims make them look like fools. In effect, they are undermining the very cause they supposedly espouse. I question their real motivation.

But the claims they are making are those conspiracy theorists love. That's why I choose to debunk it here. (And if time proves me wrong, I'll publish that here too.)

Pope Benedict XVI is retiring because he considers his age and health no longer permit him to fulfil his role. That's the official story - and there's no reason to question it.***



* Logically, if there was an arrest warrant out for him, the Pope would not retire, keeping his immunity as head of state until the day he died. And any Catholic Cardinal who demanded the Pope's resignation would find himself quickly appointed to the Diocese of the South Georgia Islands, or somewhere equally isolated.

Further, if legal threats were enough to get the Pope to resign he would have done so when complaints were submitted to the International Criminal Court (ICC) - a real court with real powers - unlike the ITCCS's invented so-called common law court.

** Unlike the US, Italy has a weak presidential system and the President has few powers that can be exercised without the approval of the government. While Italian President can offer pardons without approval, offering immunity from prosecution is not one of his powers. Thus the claim Benedict is seeking immunity from the Italian President is risible, and it shows that the ITCCS did not even bother to do basic research before making their claims.

*** Subsequent to drafting the above, it came out that the retirement plans had been in the works since at least last fall when the construction of retirement lodgings for Benedict were started. See Vatican Secrets: After Pope Benedict Resignation Bombshell, Talk Of Head Injury, Retirement Residence, Pacemaker, Huffington Post, 14 Feb, 2013. And that supports the official story, and not the tall tale that the decision was made on very short notice only after ITCCS made its move.