Is the Vatican a Sovereign State?
By CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS - SLATE
Updated: Fri, 06 Aug 2010 12:06:27 UTC
Thanks to LWS for the link.
Elena Kagan and her colleagues in the solicitor general's office say it is. They should be ashamed.
hose scrutinizing the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court might want to pay some attention to the recent decision of her office—the office of the solicitor general of the United States—to take the side of the Vatican in the continuing scandal of child rape and the associated scandal of a coordinated obstruction of justice. Faced with a number of court cases in the United States that have named the pope himself as a defendant in the enabling and covering up of many rapes, the Vatican has evolved the strategy of claiming that the Holy See is in effect a sovereign state and thus possessed of immunity from prosecution. It has now been announced that the Obama administration will be advising the Supreme Court to adopt this view of the matter.
There are a number of fascinating ramifications of this opinion. It is not usually considered polite to mention that the majority of Supreme Court justices are practicing Roman Catholics. (Writing about this delicate matter during the argument over the nomination of John Roberts, I did warn that there might come a day when it could pose a double conflict of interest, both in respect of church teachings and in respect of the Vatican's decision to shelter Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston after he skipped town to avoid a subpoena. This was before it came to light that the current pope had been so deeply and personally involved in the church's strategy of delay and obfuscation.) We will soon have a Supreme Court that contains no Protestants and no secularists and which is being asked to rule on a matter central to the religious beliefs of a majority of its members, who are bound to regard the man formerly known as Joseph Ratzinger as the vicar of Christ on earth. If they now take refuge in the lesser claim that he is the bureaucratic head of a foreign government, will that serve to assuage their consciences? ...continue reading
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