Judge says OK to suing Vatican

Judge says OK to suing Vatican

A federal judge in Kentucky has decided that sovereign immunity (for foreign nations) does not apply and that sex abuse plaintiffs can sue the Vatican. The judge said that the men can now demand documents from the Vatican and take depositions from authorities in Rome. The question remains whether the Vatican will bother to acknowledge the court’s ruling and what legal repercussions ensue.

The judge said that he based his ruling on the argument that bishops are agents or employees of the Vatican, i.e. the nation-state and legal organization, not necessarily because they are clergy within the Church. That’s a different kind of role.

According to another report, the plaintiffs relied in their claim on a 1962 document that supposedly showed the Vatican ordered a coverup of abuse. The problem is that the document was made public three years ago, and it has been thoroughly debunked: 1, 2, 3, 4.

This should be a slam-dunk on appeal for the Vatican’s lawyers. It’s one thing to pursue justice, but it must done with respect for freedom of religion, the law, and the truth. This is just a fishing expedition that is looking to raid the perceived deeper pockets of the Vatican. With American dioceses starting to declare bankruptcy, plaintiffs’ lawyers are getting worried they won’t get the big paydays their predecessors in the affluent market got.

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  • Great…another reason to be ashamed to be a Louisvillian.

    Don’t blame Judge Heyburn – he’s actualy a fairly level-headed guy.  The ire should be turned to its proper source, namely William McMurry and (so-called “Catholic” and divorce hack) Ann Oldfather, who want to take these cases way beyond the logical conclusions of healing damage and preventing future occurrences of abuse.

    Call them what you will, but McMurry and Oldfather are merely the Cindy Sheehans of this crisis du jour, and their 15 minutes are just about up.  Beating the old, dead horses of “sticking it to the Vatican” and “making the bishops pay” no longer resemble anything beyond vengeance and a waste of time and dollars which could be better spent elsewhere.

    Granted, Miller and Clark and the others still living who have victimized people should be locked in the room, and competent authority should then throw away the room.  Thomas Kelly and his pals in the Chancery should be spirited away to pursue “other interests.”  Victims should be given what they need to heal.  Anything beyond that is overkill, the unfortunate purview of lawyers such as these.

  • Yeah, I’m with you Marco. But look on the bright side. Maybe McMurry will take a trip to Damascus and the situation will be taken care of.