Catholic Prelate William Lynn is found guilty:
But what about those that ordered him? Placing the Pope and Crimen Sollicitationis on Trial
by Kevin D. Annett
A Message to Rome
How the mighty are falling.
Watching William Lynn go to jail is immensely pleasurable, partly because it reminds me of the rapid collapse of the Richard Nixon administration years ago, as the conviction of successive Presidential flunkies eventually led prosecutors right to the door of the Executive office.
Being students of history, the Vatican mob must be nervous today, regardless of their success in nullifying their main concern in the Lynn case, which was the charge of criminal conspiracy against him. For such a conviction would have connected Lynn’s protection of child rapists in his charge to the Vatican policy that shielded him for so long – namely, Crimen Solicitationas – and to Pope Benedict himself, who has personally authorized the policy.
Crimen Solicitationas is the law in the Roman Catholic church that orders every priest and Bishop in the world to protect child raping clergy or face excommunication. It is a clear command to obstruct justice and conspire in an enormous, global assault on the innocent, and it implicates the Catholic hierarchy as a whole in a crime against humanity.
The historic conviction of William Lynn, as the first member of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in America to go to jail for aiding and abetting clerical child rapists, is no small feat, considering the political weight of the papacy and its strange ally in the Obama administration, which did its utmost to derail the Lynn case. But where Lynn’s conviction will lead is uncertain, since the entire matter of whom and what allowed him to help terrorize and destroy generations of children was ignored by the court’s decision.
This fact is odd, considering how early on in the court proceedings it was established that Lynn was not acting alone, but clearly was following the instructions of Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, the boss of Lynn’s Philadelphia Diocese who Lynn served as an aide. Last January, Bevilacqua suffered a convenient and sudden death the day after he was declared fit to stand trial in the Lynn case.
Vatican machinations aside, if William Lynn’s conviction is to have the long-term significance that many survivors of church terror hope it will, it must be followed by a legal assault on the Vatican and its policy of Crimen, which is the executive order that authorized William Lynn to do what he did in the first place. Any failure to do so will be analogous to convicting an Auschwitz S.S. guard for mass murder while ignoring the Wannsee Protocol, or the orders from his superiors in Berlin.
That, of course, is easier said than done. Not only is the Catholic Church a law unto itself, but so are its many orders and branches: like the elite Knights of Malta, for example, which issues its own passports, has its own courts and judiciary, enjoys observer status at the United Nations and has diplomatic relations with over a hundred nations. And the Vatican itself has simply snubbed its nose at numerous attempts by German and American lawyers to serve a summons on the Pope, who claims “diplomatic immunity” from prosecution as a so-called “head of state”.
Joseph Ratzinger must never have heard of, or at least tries to forget, the Nuremburg Trials, which isn’t surprising, considering his Hitler Youth past. But the precedent is there, nevertheless: heads of state can and are tried under international law for crimes against humanity, which child rape and trafficking now constitute under the Rome Convention of the International Criminal Court.
Admittedly, the old guy is a tottering figurehead, and according to some Vatican insiders, Ratzinger was deliberately elected as Pope by the College of Cardinals to take the heat that was brewing because of the blatancy of his personal involvement in concealing child rapists in the church – including his own brother in Munich. This analysis seems to be borne out by the recent “Vatileaks” scandal that shows that at least some Cardinals in the Secretary of State’s office are releasing evidence to the press of criminal corruption by Ratzinger in his awarding Vatican contracts to friends and insiders.
Clearly, somebody in the upper church echelons wants the old Nazi out.
In the light of this growing civil war in Rome, William Lynn’s conviction could be the spark that ignites the downfall of at least one Pope and that part of the hierarchy that stands by him. And it’s for that reason that this particular spark is simultaneously being fanned and doused by different elements in the catholic church.
Those fanning the case – call them the “liberal” faction in the Curia and a host of non-Italian Bishops and Cardinals – clearly want reforms and window cleaning in the Vatican. They are in fact the same force that has been funding and promoting various front groups of church abuse survivors, most notoriously the so-called “SNAP” movement (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests) based in the USA, and much-quoted in the world media as “the official survivors’ organization”.
SNAP goes out of its way to invite Catholic clergy to speak at its posh, heavily-funded events, and steers its members away from any protests at churches. Intrepid former SNAP members have recently traced the group’s origin to a Catholic group called the Eighth Day Center for Justice in the Chicago Diocese, set up in 1993. The practice of stage managing dissent and creating a controlled opposition is not a new tactic for institutions under fire, but it’s one desperately needed these days by Roman Catholicism as its victims and opponents are closing ranks from all sides.
But ultimately money talks, especially in the church, and the weight of the financial czars in the Vatican Bank still lean towards the papal status quo. The expulsion of reformer Gotti Tedeschi as head of the Bank is a sign of the Italian mob’s vote of confidence in Ratzinger – for now. But the Lynn case has all of them worrying, and the Italian old guard is already moving to have the Lynn indictment quashed through their considerable influence in the American judiciary and Obama administration.
Nevertheless, the jailing of William Lynn is a huge green light for lawyers everywhere who seek to prosecute the Vatican as a whole for crimes against children and liberty. And yet this is a battle that will be ultimately staged and won in the public arena, not the legal one, through direct, sustained political action against the catholic church and its finances.
Our network has already thrown down the gauntlet to Rome by planning church occupations and citizen’s arrests against child raping priests and their protectors beginning on September 15. If this type of direct action can be multiplied in many communities, and join with the international legal campaign to bring the papacy to trial, our power will be immeasurable.
The crime known as Crimen Solicitationas that allowed William Lynn and so many others to terrorize our children needs to be torn up at its roots, by confronting the loyalty given it by Catholic clergy around the world. We have given them all until September 15 to take a public oath to defy Crimen and protect children, or be branded as public enemies subject to arrest and public banishment. (see www.itccs.org)
This is not an especially radical thing to ask a priest to do. The French revolution imposed a similar civil oath on catholic clergy in 1791, after nationalizing the property of the church in France. And now, as then, it is only fundamental action to dismantle the source of religious tyranny and terrorism that will put an end to it.
The simple verdict condemning William Lynn was a shot heard around the world, and aimed at the heart of the oldest, corporate conspiracy in human history. The crumbling of Roman Catholicism can only be good news for humankind. In the recent words to the author of a senior Vatican official who, understandably, prefers anonymity,
“Who knows? This scandal might even make Christians of us!”