U.S. court rules priests are not Holy See employees

From Vatican Insider:

The U.S. District Court in Portland clears the Vatican of any responsibility for a priest who was pronounced guilty of acts of paedophilia during the 1960s
vatican city

On Monday, 20 August in Portland (Oregon), U.S. District Court judge, Michael Mosman, ruled that the Holy See “cannot be considered an employer” of members of the clergy and consequently cannot be held responsible in civil proceedings for sexual abuse committed by priests. Therefore each case should be judged individually and being a priest does not automatically mean the person in question should be treated in the same way as a company employee. In this specific case, the judge ruled that there was a total absence of any “employment relationship” between the Holy See and the priest who committed the abuse.


Read the rest there.

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  1. No surprise; the whole thing was–from a legal point of view–a joke. It seems to me a frivolous case, but perhaps someone more expert in the law would say otherwise.

    It should be obvious the whole purpose was to give the Church a black eye and perhaps cost some money, with only the slightest chance of winning.

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  3. Random Friar says:

    Well, I can count how much money the Vatican has paid me with all the toes on my head.

  4. cjcanniff says:

    I believe that the judge definitely made the right call. Now we just need Catholics to stop thinking of the Church as a business with the Pope as CEO and pastors as local branch managers. Dioceses in the U.S. do need to function like businesses in some ways for various financial reasons etc, but the reality remains that the Church is nothing like your modern Walmart with Jesus being Sam Walton, the pope being the new CEO, your bishop being a regional manager, your pastor being a store manager, nuns being the cashiers doing the hard labor on the front lines with the customers who are the laity. The Church is nothing like that at all, but I think that sometimes people view the hierarchy as working that way.

  5. jilly4ski says:

    @Random Friar, are you sure there aren’t any toes up there that you can’t see. ;)

    I have already tried to explain to people that legal this case is a non starter (I am glad the judge agreed). There were some really good paragraphs in the article, especially the quotes from the law professor, about how the pope has sovereign immunity and there is no jurisdiction to sue another sovereign nation in the US. The other good paragraph was the judges analogy to the state bar association. And suing and winning (useless) judgments from the “Vatican” is not justice, since all they would receive an unenforceable piece of paper after spending their money on court fees and attorneys fees.

  6. Random Friar says:

    @jilly4ski: The only proof seems to be that I have occasional dandruff, and not toejam.

  7. Absit invidia says:

    I believe the judge is onto something here. American dioceses have been acting far too renegade and detached from the Magisterium as if the American bishops believe they are not bound to follow the Holy Father. In a sense, the modern American Catholic clergy have created this situation. They’ve pushed the Pope away and have spiked the football – high fiving each other in the end zone celebrating their “independence”.

    I believe the judge sees that as well.

    While American Catholics think they have won independence from Rome and have been distracted by excessively celebrating in the end zone, the devil has picked up the ball and is threatening to rout the celebratory committee.

  8. Scott W. says:

    Obvious trial balloon was obvious. Glad to see it went down like a lead zeppelin.

  9. Angie Mcs says:

    Absitinvidia got me thinking. : I just don’t understand why any American Catholics are so set on independence from Rome. I recently converted and a very strong reason was being drawn to His Holiness and the Vatican, our closest earthly connection to Christ. I have yet to meet anyone who hasn’t been overwhelmed by the feeling of spiritual presence of our Lord when they have visited the Vatican, often to the point of tears. Is it not one of our greatest assets, a gift Christ holds out to us to freely take and use? Further, To assent to the Holy Father connects us to him and everything around him.

    I have had physical limitations or I would have saved my pennies and gone long ago. Heck, I may just go anyway. Those who want to be independent seem to me to be more interested in politics and power than all the beauty and richness the Church has to offer us. Besides, aren’t WE ALL really the Church, no matter where we are? How can one run from oneself?

    I’m very pleased the Vatican was cleared in this case. Good news is so welcome these days.

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