The Pope's Lawyer Prepares for a FightS

A lawsuit in Kentucky against the Vatican has the Pope worried, so his legal team drafted a 3-point plan of defense — American bishops were just Vatican contractors, there's no smoking gun, and Benedict has immunity as head of state.

Submitted last month to a Louisville court, and obtained by the AP, the documents lay out the Vatican's legal defense of the Pope that they hope will keep him from being deposed. This could grab some OJ Simpson-style ratings! From the AP:

The Holy See is trying to fend off the first U.S. case to reach the stage of determining whether victims actually have a claim against the Vatican itself for negligence for allegedly failing to alert police or the public about Roman Catholic priests who molested children."

None of this will happen if the Pope's lawyer has his way:

Jeffrey Lena, the reclusive architect of the Vatican's legal strategy in the U.S. […] noted that the U.S. Supreme Court has held that when a defendant enjoys immunity, a court shouldn't allow a "discovery fishing expedition on claims that are baseless or speculative."

Lena also has argued that the pope's deposition would violate the Vatican's own laws on confidentiality, and would set a bad precedent for U.S. officials.

"If Pope Benedict XVI is ordered to testify by a U.S. court, foreign courts could feel empowered to order discovery against the president of the United States regarding, for example, such issues as CIA renditions," Lena wrote in a 2008 brief."

Is that a threat disguised in legalese? Lena must be referring to this CIA rendition case in Italy.

The Vatican today issued a statement again slamming the New York Times and defending the Pope. Intent on "setting the record straight," the Judicial Vicar for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, who presided over the child molestation case involving over 200 deaf boys in Milwaukee, writes:

The only thing that we can do at this time is to learn the truth, beg for forgiveness, and do whatever is humanly possible to heal the wounds. The rest, I am grateful, is in God's hands."

And about the Milwaukee priest and others, he says, "God alone will judge these men." The same could be said for the Pope, no?

[Image via Getty]