Vatican asking US government help on sex-abuse case?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Mar 03, 2005

John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter tells us that during his February 8 meeting with Condoleeza Rice, Cardinal Angelo Sodano asked the US Secretary of State to help extricate the Vatican from a sex-abuse lawsuit filed in the US.

It's not news that someone named the Holy See as a defendant; it's easy enough to add one more defendant in a civil lawsuit.

What's more remarkable is that this lawsuit is being taken seriously enough at the Vatican so that the Secretary of State raised the matter with his American counterpart.

Frankly, if this story had come from another source, I would assume that the reporter had jumbled the facts a bit. But Allen is quite reliable. Fascinating.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: - Mar. 05, 2005 3:06 PM ET USA

    I think that the church has been blamed for its failure to properly manage those members that abused kids, but not for failure to follow doctrinal issues. The church got into trouble for repeatedly shuffling around Priests that had histories of abuse. I am not sure the organization is being held to blame because an individual member (a priest) broke the law and abused a child. It is my opinion that the Bishops and priests lost their focus on the laity in the 60's are 70's.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 04, 2005 10:15 AM ET USA

    The current problem originated when the Vatican allowed the US Bishops to throw the laity under the bus and allow the courts to loot them to save their (Bishops) indefensible hides.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 04, 2005 9:49 AM ET USA

    The worst legal disaster since Roe v. Wade was made when the Catholic Church was blamed for the actions of members that were not acting in accord with the doctrines of the church. Making the contributors to the parishes monetarily responsible for criminal dissenters from Church doctrines should be a grave sin crying to heaven for vengeqance. The perpetrators will not go unpunished in the highest court.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Mar. 04, 2005 9:35 AM ET USA

    I don't know how it is said in Latin (Forgive me Phil, but I didn't go to Catholic school, as a matter of fact I've been marinated in protestant thought which I think was a good thing)but I think the judicial principle is "The King can do no wrong.." that is EXACTLY one of the reasons why the American Revolution was fought, and that mindset (that of the American revolution and the rights of the individual versus the "state") is similar to many of the theological postions stated in Vatican II