In an effort to keep a rising legal flood below the chin, the Vatican is prepared to argue that bishops are not employees of the church, therefore the church shouldn’t be held responsible for their sometimes nefarious behavior related to allegations of sexual abuse. We’re not lawyers, but that seems pretty ridiculous.
If lawyers in Louisville, Ky., can show that the highest levels of the Catholic Church are ultimately responsible, then they could demand access to secret documents and officials up to and including the pope.
The Vatican is seeking to dismiss the suit before the Pope can be questioned or documents subpoenaed.
Its motion is being closely watched as the clerical abuse scandal swirls around the Holy See, since the court’s eventual decision could have implications for a lawsuit naming top Vatican officials that was recently filed in Wisconsin and another one in Oregon is pending before the Supreme Court.
Mr McMurry has alleged that the Vatican had clear and direct control over bishops, mandated a policy of secrecy, and is therefore liable for the bishops’ failure to report abuse. He is seeking unspecified damages.