But the defense against the idea that the Vatican should be sued isn't the most interesting part of this AP article:
It's not every day that the apostolicity of the Church, one of her four marks, gets mentioned in the secular press, even as part of an indirect quote.
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican on Monday will make its most detailed argument yet for why it is not liable for bishops who allowed priests to molest children in the U.S., in a motion that could affect other efforts to sue the Holy See in American courts, The Associated Press has learned.
In a motion to dismiss a lawsuit on jurisdictional grounds, the Holy See is expected to argue that a key Vatican document calling for secrecy in church trials for sex abuse cases was not, as victims' lawyers say, proof of a Vatican-orchestrated cover up. The Vatican's U.S. attorney, Jeffrey Lena, said Sunday there was no evidence the document was even known to the archdiocese in question — much less used.
In addition, the Holy See is expected to assert that bishops aren't Vatican employees because they aren't paid by Rome, don't act on Rome's behalf and aren't controlled day-to-day by the pope — factors courts use to determine whether employers are liable for the actions of their workers, Lena told the AP.
He said he would suggest to the court that it should avoid using the religious nature of the relationship between bishops and the pope altogether as a basis for civil liability, because it entangles the court in an analysis of complicated religious doctrine that dates back to the apostles. [Emphasis added--E.M.]
Of course, while I like that part of the AP article, I have to find fault with this phrase from the first paragraph: "The Vatican on Monday will make its most detailed argument yet for why it is not liable for bishops who allowed priests to molest children in the U.S...." I know some bishops are not blameless, in that they shuffled priests around or tried to look the other way when situations involving child abuse by priests surfaced in their dioceses. But not even Cardinal Law can be said to have "...allowed priests to molest children..." and the AP should know better than to use such an inaccurate and inflammatory framing of the issue.