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Pope seeks immunity in Texas abuse case

Saturday 20 August 2005

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VATICAN CITY — Lawyers for Pope Benedict XVI have asked President Bush to declare the pontiff immune from liability in a lawsuit that accuses him of conspiring to cover up the molestation of three boys by a seminarian in Texas, court records show.

The Vatican’s embassy in Washington sent a diplomatic memo to the State Department on May 20 requesting the U.S. government grant the pope immunity because he is a head of state, according to a May 26 motion submitted by the pope’s lawyers in U.S. District Court for the Southern Division of Texas in Houston.

Joseph Ratzinger is named as a defendant in the civil lawsuit. Now Benedict XVI, he’s accused of conspiring with the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston to cover up the abuse during the mid-1990s.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Gerry Keener, said Tuesday that the pope is considered a head of state and automatically has diplomatic immunity.

Lawyers for abuse victims say the case is significant because previous attempts to implicate the Vatican, the pope or other church officials in U.S. sex abuse proceedings have failed — primarily because of immunity claims and the difficulty serving Vatican officials with U.S. lawsuits. (AP)

ratzinger letter’s

Forum posts

  • The pope, who is just a man, should have no more immunity that any minister in any other religion. The Bible teaches that no man comes to the Father except throught Jesus Christ, not the pope. If this man, the pope, did what he is accused of, then he should be put on trial for his crimes.

    • If another man of the cloth was involved in a cover-up of a pedophile, he most certainly would be accused, arrested, and go on trial. What makes the Pope and the Catholic Church above the law.

      I am tired of hearing that the Pope is God’s representative on Earth.

      If this is so, the Pope is actually representing Satan.

      He is not representing my God and Jesus Christ.

    • That’s right! The Pope is just a man. He is not divine. He is not God.

      It is abhorent that he is being granted immunity from this lawsuit.

      The Pope covered up the fact that a Catholic seminarian is a pedophile and committed a crime against children, not to mention the shame and trauma these children have been subjected to.

      The Pope should be cleaning up his own House. It should not have come to a lawsuit.

      What the Pope is saying and doing are two different things.

      Does the Pope have to go to confession? He was born into original sin and is not above committing sins himself, as he did in this case.

      Vatican CITY is not a state. He is not a head of state.

      It is absolutely wrong to offer him immunity!

    • So ’no man comes to the Father except through J.C’. Maybe they should re-write this section of the Bible, ’The Father comes all over the kids in the name of Jesus Christ!’. A more accurate description of the modern church.

    • I’m sorry, but Vatican City is a political state, recognized as such throughout the world. The US even has an ambassador assigned to the Vatican.
      Secondly, no mattter what he is accused of, the Pope is not subject to our laws or jurisprudence even if he were not the Pope. The President of the US does not even have to grant him immunity - he has it already. To seek to subpoena him to appear in a US courtroom is pure demagoguery on the part of some lawyer(s). If he is to be charged, it would have to be in an international court - an institution, incidentally, that I have trouble with because of the inherent potential abuse.

      Lest anyone get the wrong impression, I have no illusions about the papacy and the Roman Church. Luther had it right and things haven’t changed since. The Roman Catholic Church is a blot on the face of Christianity. And they have company with some other "Christian" institutions who make of the Bible a book subject to their own reasoning and superior knowledge. In other words, they make themselves superior over God who is revealed to us only in HIS WORD, the Bible. Neither do I have any sympathy for people who would abuse children. They need to be stopped and punished. Incidentally, even in this case, the Pope is nt accused of inflicting abuse on any child.

      Finally, I object to those who seem to want to make this a political thing and, of course, blame George Bush. Why not? He gets blamed for everything else that’s wrong in this world. And, they tell us, he is not popular in other parts of the world either. What foreign leader is popular in this country? And we don’t even have to deal with their superior economic and/or military might!!

    • What an insult to Satan! FTP

    • Get rid of Vatican City-Sue the City for Corruption

  • I say investigate and prosecute if in fact the crime was commited.Children are NOT sex toys for evil adults, regardless of the funny hats you may wear.

    • How regal, wealthy, powerful and well fed they look. Fact of the matter is, they are modern day witch doctors with a long history of mesmerizing the masses. Can you picture Jesus sitting in his place? Hardly. What people don’t realize is that these people are religious politicians voted into office same as our own political people in government. All these politicians have going for them is their lofty titles, nothing else. If a crime has being committed, ’pay the piper’!!!!!

    • What’s to investigate?

      We already know that the Pope helped to cover up a crime against children.

      Yes, there are pedophiles among the ranks of seminarians, priests, and even higher-placed men in the Catholic Church.

      The Pope should not be excused from this Texan trial. He was involved in the cover-up.

      I am renouncing my membership in the Catholic Church due to the acts of pedophiles within the Church hierarchy.

      I have learned that down through the ages, certain Popes have had mistresses or young children to act out their sexual urges.

      Don’t do as I do, do as I say.

      This Church is beyond fixing.

      Droves of seminarians and priests should leave the sinking ship, if they are aware enough.

    • Yes, the Church is big on opulent attire and various rituals such as High Mass.

      The Church does not stand up well to inspection. What about the Spanish Inquisition.

      I recommend that interested parties view a movie titled "The Name of the Rose." It stars Sean Connery andEmilio Estevez, I believe.

      This is not the Church of Jesus Christ. No way!

      The Pope during World War II is to be canonized and will or already has been granted sainthood.

      The Catholic Church did nothing to assist the Jewish people during the Holocaust.

      Some say the Church was in collusion with the Nazis. I don’t know if it is true, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

      Haul this guy into court and prosecute him. He is not above the law.

      Diplomatic immunity has been used many times to absolve people who have committed sins.

      Diplomatic immunity is wrong.

    • Sue the Vatican City Council



  • There is something wrong with us. We do what is wrong when we know what is right.

    I hope that when the end comes it will be for us all so that we can’t continue to repeat history then forget it over and over again.

    There is something wrong with us. I wish for the end every day.

    • Wishing for the end every day is a sign of depression. I would see a doctor if I were you.

      Let’s face it. We are in the End Times. Look around you and see what is happening.

      Just because life as we know it is going to change sometime soon doesn’t mean that this Pope should get off the hook for his collusion in this pedophile case.

      There is something wrong only with some of us. Catholics who are pedophiles and act out their fantasies with innocent children in their congregations are definitely wrong and they know it.

      Unless we learn something from this incident history will be conveniently changed.

      The United States has accused the Russians and other countries of rewriting history. Now, America is doing the same thing.

      The U.S. is now a poor example of a peaceful democracy. Why should other countries try to emulate our Government?

    • Get sight of Vatican City Records,Raise an action in the Vatican Court....Let the People Sing

  • Investigate and Prosecute. I don’t care who this guy is, do not give anyone special treatment in a case such as this. The priests and higher ups in the Church have been given enough special treatment in the past. If the man is a criminal treat him like one.That is what the court would do to me or any other person not in a "HIGH" position. It is time for those in these positions to have to answer to the law!!!

    • Right now, the Bush Regime has the lowest percentage of approval than any other time since he has been in office. If Bush actually grants the Pope immunity, his approval rate will continue to drop.

      The Pope is a criminal and should be treated as such.

      Why was he chosen in the first place?

  • It’s very interesting how the shoe ends up on the other foot! Now as supreme pontif, the new pope is asking for immunity in a case, in which he was involved himself! What does this say about the great Roman Catholic Church?

    The only thing it can say is incidents of this type have been going on in the church for years, and have been covered up incestantly. However, since the media grabbed hold of a few events and have delved deeper into them, the leaders of the church cry out for immunity. What have the victims of the abuse to say? Obviously, guilt comes into play here, and the pope should be punished if he is guilty, like any other ’molester’ of children! No immunity should be bestowed upon the great pontif if he is guilty, and the investigation should be continued by parties outside of the church!

    Luther, former victim of abuse in the Catholic Church

    • Yes, I agree.

      There have been pedophiles in the Catholic Church down through the ages.

      Most have gone unpunished.

      Let’s punish those we now know about. It’s the least we can do.

      How are the victims being treated by the Church. They are the ones who have suffered.

      Instead, the Pope asks Bush for immunity.

      Don’t give it to him!

    • Bush, the criminal head of the criminal’s club has already assured the great Satan Benedict that he is automatically immune from prosecution "as the head of a sovereign country" (yeah right). These people are above the laws and will never be prosecuted. Look at Bush’s friend Kenneth Lay, head Enron crook, he has never even been charged with a crime let alone get the Michael Jackson treatment.

  • How sad that a so called man of God thinks that it is ok to cover up abuse, especially of children. In my mind, that’s the worst evil of all. How can that not be considered a sin in the Catholic Church? I know that’s one of the main reasons I am no longer a practicing Catholic. Should the government grant this criminal immunity, there will be no hope left for the human race because we will be living in Hell on earth.

    As someone who was abused sexually as a child, I would rather have been murdered than to have gone through that torture. I think that the pope should be tried and given a life sentence!

  • First, this attorney has not presented any shred of evidence that there is a cover-up on the part of the Pope except his own convenient interpretation. Second, the pope has not never been a resident or citizen of this country for him to be subject to US laws. It is ridiculous that an unknown attorney wants to create fame for himself by filing a lawsuit against a well known international personality and mainly for just one reason greed- greed -greed. It is also imperialistic for a US judge and/or attorney to think that he has jurisdiction
    of citizens and residents of other countries. The US has refused to approve International measures that will subject US citizens that directly committ crimes in other countries and then flee to the US be sent back to the countries where they committed the crimes. It is high time time that US courts, judges and unknown attorneys recognize that they are not above international laws and rules.

    This case is about a seminarian and he is solely responsible for those acts and should face punishment and pay the costs if he was guilty.

    Also, the Catholic church is not the only owner of child molestation problems. Any google or yahoo search and you will find protestant priests of all denominations, Jewish Rabbis, atheists, agnostics, police, judges, politicians, boy scout masters, minor leage coaches, family members, etc., that have been sent to jail for child molestation. Just recently, the LA Times had an article about the Adventist church paying $10 million for a cover up on child molestation. The only problem is that because it did not involve the Catholic church it was not a front page news, but rather a page 39 news. Also three police (including a higher up in the Los Angeles police Department) where recently arrested for child molestation/porn. As this cases did not involve the Catholic church (for it will be front page news), it published the articles in the back pages of the second section. When it comes to Catholicism no question, that the US media tends to be very anti-Catholic.

    The prestigious and well known Department of Psychiatry of the John Hopkins University did a research on the incidence of molestation on the part of Catholic Priests and found that the incidence is lower than the incidence of molestation among family members and about the same as the general population. How many families are hiding and/or not reporting the molestation of children to the authorities? Lets stop being hypocrites in pointing a finger, when you have three fingers pointing at yourself.

    • I subscribe this last message, more valid than all the others

      An Italian Catholic.

    • You have got to be kidding........

      All of the offenders in those other churches and groups had the opportunity to go to jail....and many of them have. The problem that I have is that Catholics don’t go to jail. And the reason i believe they don’t go to jail is because Catholicism and/or the POPE is above US law.

      Catholics can do whatever they want....leagally or ilegally......moraly or immoraly.




    • "He said the delay in defrocking Teta was caused by a hold on appeals while the Vatican changed regulations over its handling of sex abuse cases. In the meantime, he said, cautionary measures were in place; Teta had been suspended since 1990." Huffington Post article.

      So apparently the Priest was suspended, but the lawyers still want to make an issue of it.

      The Pope has diplomatic immunity as do diplomats from other nations.

    • well Noriega nerver lived in US,but look what happened to him.

  • those church people are all just a conspiring group of child molesting misfits. shocking they have all the power.