Pope Benedict XVI holds mass in Vatican city.
The pontiff has lead the Catholic church during a troubled few years – as a series of sexual abuse scandals and allegations of cover-ups rocked the establishment.
Now some of the victims have asked the International Criminal Court to investigate Pope Benedict and three Vatican officials.
One visitor to the Vatican said anyone accused of wrong doing should be investigated.
[Christine Bullock, British Visitor from Manchester]:
“They’re not above the law, no one is above the law. I’m not saying that the pope or any of his cardinals are personally involved, but anyone who is seen as committing those types of crimes needs to be brought to justice, no matter who they are.”
Many of the crimes in question occurred before 2002 when the ICC was set up, which puts them outside the court’s remit.
And while the Pope, as a German national, is subject to the ICC’s jurisdiction, Reuters’ Vatican correspondent says it is unlikely he would be called up by the court.
[Philip Pullella, Reuters Vatican Correspondent]:
“First of all I think that these abuse victims are doing it as a symbolic gesture, and I think they realise it too. The possibility that the pope or some high ranking Vatican officials will ever be dragged in front of the ICC is extremely remote, virtually impossible. So it’s a mostly symbolic thing.”
It’s unclear how far the victims’ request for the ICC to investigate the Pope and other Vatican officials will go.
But it is yet another blow in a scandal that the Church is struggling to put behind it.