Vatican Update | BBC Correspondent Calls Crisis 'Worst in his four decades of reporting'

RedTracker| A friend of mine asked me:

Can the pope can be fired? I have no idea, but Christopher Beam at Slate answers the qustion.

No. The Code of Canon Law has no provision that allows a pope’s removal from office— for any reason, even poor health or psychological trauma. That’s because, according to church law, there is no higher authority than the pope: He “possesses supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely.” A pope may resign, but his resignation must be “made freely,” and he doesn’t have to tender his resignation to any particular authority. (The last pope to resign was Gregory XII, who did so in 1415 to end the battle for the papacy known as the Western schism, with two popes claiming the throne.)

Can the pope face prosecution?

Not while he is pope, with regard to his relationship with other countries. Or for ‘crimes’ committed while he is pope. This immunity from prosecution clause exists for all heads of state, as part of international law. Under Vatican law at the Holy Sea, the pope cannot be prosecuted, period.

No one is seriously suggesting that Pope Benedict should resign, but the BBC News correspondent to the Vatican writes:

During four decades of reporting from the Vatican, I have never seen a graver crisis affecting the very credibility of the leadership of the world’s longest surviving international organisation, the Roman Catholic Church.

In recent weeks, Pope Benedict has had to deal with some very serious allegations. via BBC News

German Chancellor Merkel Speaks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel demanded “truth and clarity” on Wednesday about sexual abuse committed by priests in the Roman Catholic Church.  Speaking before parliament, Merkel said that Germany should not limit its current investigation to the Catholic church. via Reuters

“We all agree sexual abuse against children is a despicable crime,” said Merkel, leader of Germany’s conservative Christian Democrats. “There is only one way for society to come clean and that is truth and clarity about everything that has happened.”

New Abuse: Vienna Boys’ Choir

Merkel’s comments are confirmed by the fact that an open letter from the management of the Vienna Boys’ Choir to parents expressed regret that eight former choir members have denounced their teachers in the past few days.  Read on Vienna Boys’ Choir caught up in sex abuse scandals via London Times and Ex-Vienna Choir Boys Say They Were Abused CBS News.