Pope Benedict’s decision to live out the rest of his life inside the protected walls of the Vatican is a calculated maneuver to avoid prosecution and stay safe.
Church experts tell Reuters that, by remaining inside the walls of the Vatican, the church will provide Benedict with the same rights he received as the head of the church.
A Vatican official notes that staying with the Vatican ensures Pope Benedict can not be prosecuted in connection with the church’s many sexual predator cases that are ongoing around the world.
The Vatican official notes:
“His continued presence in the Vatican is necessary, otherwise he might be defenseless. He wouldn’t have his immunity, his prerogatives, his security, if he is anywhere else.”
By remaining in the Vatican, the church is also able to ensure that Pope Benedict’s new place of origin does not become a place of pilgrimage for millions of devote Catholic followers. Originally, there was speculation that the Pope would serve out his last years at a monastery in his native Germany.
Having Pope Benedict live inside the walls of the Vatican could still lead to problems. Some followers of the Catholic church worry that the new Pope’s decisions could conflict with Benedict’s own beliefs, causing strife within the Catholic churches ranks. If the new Pope is not as conservative as Benedict, it could lead to top ranking church officials turning to their former leader.
Living as a Vatican citizen would also allow Benedict to travel outside of the sovereign nations walls. The Vatican has deemed Benedict an official head of state, which in turn provides the former Pope with diplomatic immunity. In 2010, British author and atheist Richard Dawkins attempted to have Pope Benedict arrested during his trip to Britain. Ultimately, the country’s courts found that diplomatic immunity protected the Pope against claims of the church’s child sexual abuse practices.
Do you think Pope Benedict is smart to live out the rest of his life with the security and immunity provided by the Vatican?