A cardinal in the dock would mark real reform in Vatican justice


February 18, 2021

By John L. Allen Jr.

From the outside, the commonplace assumption about the Vatican’s system of criminal justice probably is that it’s too lenient, because, as people would see it, the system boils down to Vatican personnel policing their peers and thus, many likely assume, the temptation is to go easy.

Insiders, however, have long felt it’s precisely the other way around. The whole point of Vatican tribunals, as they rather cynically perceive it, is to deliver lower-level scapegoats to insulate senior figures from culpability, so the system is stacked in favor of the prosecution.

Basically speaking, if you’re indicted for a crime in the Vatican City State, your odds of acquittal are roughly the same as winning the lottery.

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