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Finally, a court (in America) has had the nerve to serve court papers on the Vatican (and naming Ratzinger) over one of the oldest sex abuse cases still running.


Oddly (or perhaps not so oddly) the BBC has not yet picked up this story.

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Great! It's about time they were held accountable.

They won't be, of course, but it gives more publicity to the way the Vatican behaves and makes it less likely that anyone will believe them.

There's more where that came from. Jeff Anderson is a very brave attorney who is going after them on a couple of other cases too. Didn't you love the part about the Vatican not being "obliged to comply with the request" prior the serving being done through official diplomatic channels.

They let a priest molest 200 hearing-impaired children and then escape any punishment whatsoever for his crimes.

Of course, the Vatican is a sovereign state - not.

The US recognizes Vatican City as a sovereign state, so legally that's the necessary procedure. Effectively, the Vatican is saying its priests are employees of their government, and thus it's protected by diplomatic standards. But if you point out that that implies they're agents of a foreign power, then you're an "anti-Catholic bigot." They get you both ways.

Over here there is a lot of argument about this, since the Vatican is not recognised as a member of the UN (though it has observer status) and the fact is that it has no citizens and raises no taxes (Italy pays.)

I'd be very annoyed if a country figured out a way to fund itself by non-coercive means and was told that that meant it was no longer a country. For me, the basic test is: If someone commits a crime, is that person violating the laws of the Vatican (or a sub-unit thereof), and subject to arrest by Vatican (etc.) cops and trial in a Vatican (etc.) court? I don't know if this is the case, and I'm not saying I like the idea of Vatican cops, but that's what national sovereignty is about.

They don't have police. They don't have civil courts. They are funded by the Italian taxpayer. They don't have citizens. They don't have hospitals. They don't trade.

I expect they'll wiggle out of it somehow.

I've got Geoffrey Robertson QC's book on why the Vatican is liable, but I've never got round to reading it.

It all comes down to whether the Vatican is really a state. I think the fact it doesn't raise taxes basically rules it out. Also that it has no citizens.

I think there's more to it than that. Even if it isn't recognised as a state, and That's about treaty law and high prerogative powers, you'd still have to prove complicity in failure of oversight. Now I think that if the pope can sack a bishop for thinking women are people he can sack them for abusing children , And I certainly think senior members of the church were engaged in conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. I'm not sure that catches the pope in a criminal conspiracy.

I'd like to see someone try though. Organisations saying they are above the law annoy me

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