In Kentucky, three men have filed a lawsuit claiming the Vatican should be held responsible for child molestations that occurred years ago because the church didn't tell police or warn anyone about alleged abusers. They want to depose the pope -- something the Vatican plans to fight. Snip from AP:
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 documents reveal.
UPDATE: I was listening to NPR this morning, and Sylvia Poggioli had a report on the whole matter of having the pope testify.
... Vatican lawyers plan to argue that Pope Benedict has immunity as a head of state. But lawyers of sex abuse victims from Germany to Australia have said they also will cite the Vatican documents in similar court cases in their countries.
The church has faced ugly abuse scandals before, but this one feels different. This is the first time where people have really challenged the Vatican over its knowledge or lack thereof. I had read that a lot of Vatican officials, when the U.S. sex-abuse cases were making news, tried to say it was an American problem, that somehow our culture bred this sort of behavior.
I wonder now if U.S. cases were heard first because either American Catholics have a tendency to challenge the church more, or if -- because America culture isn't tied as closely to the church, the way that Germany or Rome are -- that our institutions were less likely to sweep these things under the rug.
(AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)