Monday, August 13, 2012

The Pope's butler

Blog 524.

The chic-fil-a story is worthy of a musical, probably along the lines of Spamalot. Moving on to number three - religion – though I am quite sure sex won’t be too far away. After all in the previous Blog there was a religious basis to both the sex stories so I don’t see why this one should be any different.
The Pope's butler has been released from custody and moved to house arrest. The Vatican said that Paolo Gabriele will remain under house arrest pending a decision on whether he should stand trial for leaking confidential papers to the media. He was charged after a series of leaks exposed alleged corruption and internal conflicts at the Holy See. The so-called "Vatileaks" scandal saw an Italian investigative journalist publish hundreds of secret documents detailing fraud scandals, nepotism and cronyism within the Holy See. (So, for goodness sake, what’s new? They’ve been at it for centuries.) Italian media reported that if convicted, Mr. Gabriele could face a sentence of up to 30 years for illegal possession of documents of a head of state, probably to be served in an Italian prison due to an agreement between Italy and the Vatican.
Well, secret police forces in various countries are nothing new but what about morality police? Ever heard about them? I hadn’t until I read an article in which a family in Saudi Arabia has accused religious police of being responsible for a fatal car accident. Reports say morality police argued with the driver of a car listening to children's songs with his family in a park.
The driver drove off, pursued by the police at speed before losing control of the car and dying in the crash. What was he so afraid of? A public flogging maybe? The officers involved have been detained and are being questioned. After being followed for several kilometres by the police, the fugitive’s car fell down a bank at an overpass that was still under construction. The man was killed and the 34-year-old's wife and two children survived the crash but were injured and remain in hospital.
The Emir of the Baha region is reported to have said he was appalled at how the religious police behaved. But supporters of the police say they have been unfairly blamed. Part of their role is to patrol the streets to stop what they see as infringements of the country's strict Muslim code.
Some have claimed that Mr. al Ghamdi drove through a police checkpoint but why should the religious police have checkpoints in the first place?  Mr. al Ghamdi's family wants a fact-finding committee to be set up under the direct supervision of the Emir of Baha. A new head of the religious police was appointed recently and he has tried to rein in some of its excesses. Incidents like this will only add to a public mood that is increasingly impatient with what many Saudis see as the religious police's arbitrary interference in their lives.
There – two religious stories and no sex. What can I say?

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