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Wednesday 30 June 2010

Quick Note: USA Supreme Court did not permit Vatican to be sued

(Catholic Watchdog South Africa / Va-Browser)

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Quick Note Article by Marc Aupiais

|Quick notes are not as researched as articles if researched at all|

Phil Lawler of Catholic Culture, has noted that media headlines that the USA (United States of America) Supreme Court has allowed the Vatican (Vatican City State/Holy See) to be sued de jure (by right of law), are incorrect. Instead it chose not to decide on the matter as yet, a slightly different move.

Here are the more that obvious results, and I may note that in South African Law, at least with the Anglican church in Province of the Church of Southern Africa, Diocese of Cape Town v CCMA et al, it was found that the priest was not even an employee of the diocese:

"By declining to hear the case, the Supreme Court did deal a minor legal setback to the Vatican, which had sought to have the case summarily dismissed. But the Oregon court’s ruling—which the Supreme Court let stand—only gives plaintiff the opportunity to argue that the Pope and the Vatican can be included as defendants. That argument is far from resolved.

In their effort to include the Pope as a defendant, the plaintiff faces an uphill struggle. The Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act protects the Holy See from liability unless the plaintiff can demonstrate that the priest who abused him was acting as an employee of the Vatican. By any of the normal legal standards—who signed his paycheck, who was his direct supervisor, who gave his assignments—the priest was working for the diocese, not the Vatican. Any effort to draw a connection between diocesan policies and Vatican directives would run into a further obstacle: the historical (and very prudent) reluctance of the American courts to become involved in the internal affairs of a religious body.

Even if an American court did give plaintiffs the right to take testimony from the Pope, the Pope would not be bound by that ruling. The Pope is not subject to American law-- nor to any other system of civil law. He is sovereign; in Vatican City he is the law.

Bottom line: If an American plaintiff takes testimony from the Pope, it will be because the Pope chose to give testimony—not because a court compelled it."

Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture (Catholic; Independent; American) 29 / 06 | June / 2010

in reference to: Catholic Culture : On The News : Can the Pope be compelled to testify? What the Supreme Court did—and did not—say (view on Google Sidewiki)

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