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The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse
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The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  250 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
In The Case of the Pope Geoffrey Robertson delivers a devastating indictment of the way the Vatican has run a secret legal system that shields pedophile priests from criminal trial around the world. Is the Pope morally or legally responsible for the negligence that has allowed so many terrible crimes to go unpunished? Should he and his seat of power, the Holy See, continue ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 1st 2010 by Penguin UK
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Mar 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is by no means an enjoyable read. The prose is not elegant, the points are without humor; Robertson takes his task very seriously. The Case of the Pope addresses a horrifying problem in our world, and you will likely find yourself angry that so little has been done to address it. But make no mistake that, by the time you finish this, you will understand the priests who commit the crimes, the efforts by the Holy See to ensure they go unpunished, and why it has no right to do so. At times, th ...more
Steve Mitchell
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is an indictment of the handling of the child abuse scandal within the Catholic church and the Vatican’s – and Pope Benedict XVI’s contribution as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith before he was elected to the Papacy – in covering up the allegations and obstructing the criminal justice system in the countries that abuse occurred.
Geoffrey Robertson QC is not a fundamentalist atheist with an axe to grind against the Catholic Church: this book contains an attack upon t
Andrew Gaulke
Jan 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Things you will learn from this book:
What is the catholic child abuse scandal, how big is it, and what has been the catholic churches response to it?
Is the Vatican legally accountable, is it a state, and if it was does that give it immunity?
How are the abusive preists getting away with it, what is cannon law, and how does it protect them?

In my view, no one can claim to be literate on these questions until they have read this book. The history of the scandal is laid out cogently and clearly, as
Cheyenne Blue
Feb 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
This isn't something you read swiftly - I had a novel on the go as well, and I'd pick this up and read a few pages at a time. Robertson sets out factually and unemotionally that Pope Ratarse should be tried for crimes against humanity because of his knowledge and cover-up of the child sex abuse perpetuated by priests. It's in three parts: the first part smashes the argument that the pope is a head of state by proving that Vatican City does not meet the criteria for statehood. Then he lays out th ...more
Oct 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Wow, talk about damning. This is an extremely well-argued case by one of the preeminent international law scholars of our time. He manages to separate the religion from the actions of its leaders, resulting in a powerful, yet respectful, piece of work.

One of the biggest surprises to me is the ticking time bomb that is the church's actions in South America and Africa, which remain largely a mystery. When you live in the US or UK, you tend to think that the problem is being addressed everywhere.
Oct 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
An excellent argument for why Benedict should be tried in international court. It will never happen, of course, but a great read nonetheless. The legalities could be a bit dull from time to time, but were necessary to understand the overall point.
Melvyn Foo
Sep 07, 2013 rated it liked it
This is not a book. This is a legal brief. And advocacy cares not for objectivity nor impartiality; such nobility is for the judges. Advocacy is unabashedly biased, and justly so, if the adversarial system is touted as justice.

The first three quarters of the books are mostly facts; the legal technicalities only surface later on. But as all lawyers know, facts can be spun. And Robertson weaves the facts masterfully and fairly, dealing deftly with counter-facts and marshalling supporting facts to
Sep 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Robertson's title is a little misleading as it is just as much about the Vatican and the power structures as it is Pope Benny. But Robertson does an excellent job in marshalling his legal voodoo and applying it to the issue of sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic Church. He goes astray here and there (most grievously in supporting scuttlebutt that Pope John Paul the First was poisoned) but for the most part, he constructs a solid indictment against the Catholic Church and Pope Benny (when he ...more
Jamie Makin
Sep 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Robertson demolishes, one-by-one, the defences the Vatican have used to excuse themselves from the charges of abetting child-rape over the years with controlled and pin-pointed anger throughout. Although there are legal questions raised and answered throughout it never becomes too complex to follow and as a whole constructs a thorough run through of the scandal, dealing with it in detail from 2002 onwards. The level of the crimes, and of their cover-ups, are staggering in their almost Kafkaesque ...more
James Purkis Purkis
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a devastating critique of the Church and cannot be ignored by any Catholic or person interested in the current child abuse crisis. Robertson has the rare ability of taking complex legal ideas and making them accessible and relevant to non-lawyers. Importantly, he explodes the arguments the Church has put up about protecting priests and shows conclusively that they ensure NO ONE, including the victims, is allowed to speak to the relevant authorities, such as the police, and that the Churc ...more
Nov 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Forensic analysis of the controversy surrounding the Vatican's lack of action over child abuse within the Catholic Church and Ratzinger's responsibility in it all. Full of detail on this, and the flimsy justification for the Pope's immunity from prosecution as a head of state (as explained in the book "statehood" a result of a treaty between the church and Mussolini for domestic Italian reasons, and the use the church makes of this to gain a voice on UN decision-making. Summed up nicely with a p ...more
Matt Kelly
Apr 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A well researched case-study of the Human Rights abuse of the Catholic Church. Deserves to be widely read by all who are interested in Human Rights and also by anyone who is a Catholic wanting to know how their leaders conduct themselves.

I hope this book causes revolution, and hopefully the next pope can directly confront these issues and set a course for the church to be the church.
Joey Comeau
Feb 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
There are so many things that happen in this world that seem so completely and obviously wrong, and yet which go unpunished. They are exposed and still nobody answers for them. It is enough to make a person feel crazy. Am I so biased that what seems obvious and self-evident to me (child abuse is wrong - covering up child abuse is wrong) is really a morally and legally ambiguous grey area?

This book made me so angry at the pope that I actually threw it across the room one night.
Sep 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
So far-very enlightening! Geoffrey Robertson QC leaves no holy stone unturned as he removes (painstakingly, at times) any lingering doubts your mind might be harbouring that the current pontiff is innocent of covering up serious crimes against innocent children. He is involved to a disturbing degree. All Catholics should do themselves a favour and open their minds with this reality check.
Jul 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
A very level headed and unbiased exploration of the facts concerning the Catholic Church's turning a blind eye to and then covering up paedophilia by it priests on children by a british QC and judge. There is no emotion in this book, just facts, and the author goes on to explore whether the Pope has a case to answer in court.
Derek Walsh
Jan 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished-in-2010
The legal case for putting Joseph Ratzinger on trial for his part in covering up and enabling the systematic rape of children, this excellent book demolishes the Vatican's audacious claim to statehood and makes a case as to why the pope should be brought to justice.
Thanos Diacakis
Oct 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Most excellent book describing how the Vatican is abusing its position and followers in a transparent power grab. BTW, did you know that the percent of Catholic priests the abuse children is somewhere in the 4-9% vicinity?
Oct 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: law
A provocative study of whether the Pope can be held criminally or civilly liable for the child sex abuse scandal. Not the easiest read--it reads like a legal brief and at times overstates its case, but essential reading for any lawyer involved in such cases and international human rights junkies.
Sep 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
It's been a long time since I've read a legal opinion, and I confess to being a little out of practice. Notwithstanding, this was a thought provoking, interesting, slightly horrifying read. I'll definitely be thinking about it for a while.
Mar 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An enlightening review of the Church's highly secret legal system. This book provides many solid arguements as to why the Pope should, and could, be held responsible for the negligence that has allowed so many paedophile priests to remain free beings.
Mircea Lungu
Apr 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Robertson really gets you vexed with the way the vatican / holy see / pope are/were hiding and protecting the priests guilty of child abuse. He also challenges the legitimacy of the statehood claims of vatican.
Azimah  Othman
Dec 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
I was much motivated to plod on when I heard of the eminent abdication of Pope Benedict XVI. The more I read it the more depressed I felt.........

Tom Griffith
Oct 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Let's sue the Nazi bastard!
Niki Jacobs
Jun 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fuck the Vatican
Jun 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
well exposed - the truth about the pope and the Vatican. How much longer will we let them get away with it?
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Geoffrey Ronald Robertson QC (born 30 September 1946) is a human rights barrister, academic, author and broadcaster. He holds dual Australian and British citizenship.

Robertson is a founder and joint head of Doughty Street Chambers. He serves as a Master of the Bench at the Middle Temple, a recorder, and visiting professor at Queen Mary, University of London.
More about Geoffrey Robertson...