Vatican asks Condoleezza Rice to help stop a sex abuse lawsuit
A US Catholic newspaper has revealed that Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano asked his US counterpart Condoleezza Rice to intervene in a sex abuse law suit, during her visit to the Vatican last month.
The National Catholic Reporter (NCR) says Cardinal Sodano asked Dr Rice to intervene in a Kentucky law suit that is seeking to hold the Vatican financially responsible for the sexual abuse of minors.
Church sources told the paper that Rice was asked by Cardinal Angelo Sodano whether the United States government could stop a class-action lawsuit currently before a United States District Court in Louisville that seeks to hold the Vatican financially responsible for the sexual abuse of minors.
Sources told NCR that Rice explained that under American law, foreign states are required to assert claims of sovereign immunity themselves before US courts.
Vatican spokesperson Joaquin Navarro-Valls, asked by NCR for comment, responded: "It's obvious and reasonable that the Holy See would present its positions as a sovereign entity to the American State Department, and recall the immunity for its acts that international law anticipates."
The paper observes that most experts say that lawsuits against the Vatican in American courts, such as the Kentucky case that prompted Sodano's request, are a "long shot".
"At least two dozen previous attempts have gone nowhere, not only because the Vatican is a sovereign state, but also because American courts are generally reluctant to deal with religious matters on First Amendment grounds."
Vatican asks Condoleezza Rice to help stop a sex abuse lawsuit (National Catholic Reporter 3/3/05)
Vatican Secretariat of State
Cardinal Sodano meets US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (CathNews 9/2/05)
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4 Mar 2005