Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Legal defence of the Pope in the US

Vatican offers 3 reasons it's not liable for abuse|

VATICAN CITY — Dragged deeper than ever into the clerical sex abuse scandal, the Vatican is launching a legal defense that the church hopes will shield the pope from a lawsuit in Kentucky seeking to have him deposed.
The case was filed in 2004 in Kentucky by three men who claim they were abused by priests and claim negligence by the Vatican. Their attorney, William McMurry, is seeking class-action status for the case, saying there are thousands of victims across the country.Court documents obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press show that Vatican lawyers plan to argue that the pope has immunity as head of state, that American bishops who oversaw abusive priests weren't employees of the Vatican, and that a 1962 document is not the "smoking gun" that provides proof of a cover-up.
The Holy See is trying to fend off the first U.S. case to reach the stage of determining whether victims actually have a claim against the Vatican itself for negligence for allegedly failing to alert police or the public about Roman Catholic priests who molested children.
Pope Pius VII, the last Pope to be placed under actual duress by the secular authorities.   Pope Pius IX was a self-imposed prisoner in the Vatican after the fall of the Papal States. 
"This case is the only case that has been ever been filed against the Vatican which has as its sole objective to hold the Vatican accountable for all the priest sex abuse ever committed in this country," he said in a phone interview. "There is no other defendant. There's no bishop, no priest."
The Vatican is seeking to dismiss the suit before Benedict XVI can be questioned or secret documents subpoenaed.

Celibacy rebels put under pressure

DIE RHEIN-NECKAR-ZEITUNG IM WEB - Heidelberg: Erzbischof Robert Zollitsch setzt Zoelibat-Rebellen unter Druck

The "Heidelberg Petition" which calls for the abolition of celibacy for Catholic priests meets with tremendous resonance. In only two weeks, several thousand Catholics have signed the petitions for the Pastoral Area of St. Christopher (Wieblingen, Pfaffengrund and Eppelheim). Even four Roman Catholic priests now openly declare their solidarity with the petition. Now,

Archbishop Robert Zollitsch tries to stop the rebellion at the grassroots level: Father John Brandt and parish organiser, Daniel Saam have been emphatically told by the Freiburg Ordinariate "to refrain in future" from promoting this petition. "
Therefore, no more posters hang in the Catholic churches in Heidelberg West, the stacks of petitions have disappeared. Only an unhelpful request for "understanding" remains on the homepage of the Pastoral Area of St. Christopher, instead of inflammatory words blaming celibacy for the catastrophic shortage of priests in the Catholic Church. The Archdiocese of Freiburg expects that the number of parish priests of today will go down from 600 today to less than 200 in 2030.

"Despite this dramatically declining number of priests, the Church with the celibacy requirement places a thin bottleneck on access to the ministry," the "Heidelberg Petition” states. Their basic argument: If young men who felt called to be Catholic priests could marry, the Catholic Church would no longer suffer from a shortage of priests. "We urge the leaders of the church, no longer place a higher value on the commitment to celibacy than the availability of the Sunday Mass."

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Book to read on the abuse crisis


Recommended by Father Finigan

And also