The retirement of Pope Benedict XVI has many Catholics discussing the religious significance of a Church with two living Popes. However, there are legal implications as well. Can the retired Pope now be subject to subpoena by litigants?
Pope Benedict is the first Pope to retire in nearly six centuries. Thus, his decision certainly puts the Vatican in legal unchartered waters, particularly given the ongoing clergy sexual abuse scandal. Theoretically, the retired Pope can no longer assert diplomatic immunity in law suits seeking to hold him accountable for sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.
While most church abuse lawsuits target the offending priest and/or his parish, several have sought to hold the Vatican accountable. The Center for Constitutional Rights in New York even filed complaint asking the International Criminal Court to investigate the Vatican's alleged failure to remove abusive clergy as a crime against humanity.
The decision for Pope Benedict to spend his retirement in the confines of Vatican suggests that the Catholic Church isn’t taking any chances. While Pope Benedict is no longer protected by diplomatic immunity as the sovereign monarch of the State of Vatican City, he will retain his Vatican citizenship by spending his final days there.
Under the Lateran Pacts executed between Italy and the Holy See in 1929, Vatican City was recognized as a sovereign state. The agreement guaranteed that the Holy See in the State of Vatican City would be “invariably and in every event considered as neutral and inviolable territory.”
However, should Pope Benedict travel outside of the Vatican, his immunity is less clear. While Jeffrey Lena, a U.S. attorney for the Vatican, is confident in Pope Benedict’s continued immunity. Other legal scholars have raised concerns.
Duquesne law professor Nicholas Cafardi, a canon lawyer, told the Associated Press that Pope Benedict could be vulnerable, particularly inside Europe, where magistrates can arrest and detain officials prior to trial. “Americans don't appreciate the vast powers that investigating magistrates have in Europe," Cafardi stated. "It only takes one who wants to make a name for him or herself to issue an arrest warrant for the former pope.”
Dissed by Gov. Chris Christie, New York Republican Gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino said Christie should consider stepping down from his post as chairman of the Republican Governors Assocation.Read More >
Union County Sheriff Ralph Froehlich has died Union County today mourns the loss of the longest-serving sheriff in New Jersey history, who died last night at the age of 83. (Editor/PolitickerNJ) http://www.politickernj.com/77506/union-county-sheriff-ralph-froehlich-has-died Cryan serving as acting Union County sheriff, poised to run in November ...
By JEFF BRINDLE Much has been written about the magnitude of campaign spending by independent special interest groups. But until now, there has been little discussion about the impact. During the 2012 Presidential and Congressional contests,... Read More >
"As soon as you step into the lake on foot or in a boat, you're in the state's domain. I feel bad for the snake, and I hope it gets rescued before it dies when it gets cold. It didn't mean to get let out there. This snake should be one thing we can get together on and not worry about party affiliation. Unless the snake's a Democrat." - Republican Mount Arlington Mayor Arthur Ondish- PolitickerNJ
Press releases are submitted by PolitickerNJ users, not by staff. They do not represent the viewpoint of PolitickerNJ.com.