I’ve posted before about the Vatican’s attempts to avoid the doctrine of respondeat superior (“Let the master answer.”) in sexual abuse cases being brought against the Holy See in the United States for the acts of priests and the church hierarchy here. And also about the Catholic Church’s ability to swiftly discipline a nun when it wants to, unlike its approach with the philandering priests.
The Catholic Church also wants to defend these cases on the basis that the Pope is the tin pot dictator of the place he calls home. He’s sovereign! He’s immune!
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act did not apply, and that the cases could proceed; the church filed a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court.
There are any number of reasons why the Magic Kingdom is not really a foreign sovereign, but the United States even sends an ambassador there. It’s pretty remarkable when you think about it.
But on top of that, think of what would happen if Hugo Chavez sent agents to the United States and allowed them to bugger young boys, and even directed their assignments sometimes.
Well, it would be war, of course. We certainly wouldn’t buy the notion of foreign sovereign immunity.
But if you read the raw story you will see that the federal government — the Obama Administration — is filing a brief in support of the grant of the writ. That doesn’t mean that the government necessarily supports the church’s position, but it does mean that it is encouraging the Supreme Court to take a look at the issue.
For those of you who still have a vision of a tearful Pope in front of a group of abuse victims promising to address their concerns, keep the church’s actual conduct in mind.
A thump of the tail to Norwegianity for the link to the sovereign immunities story.