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> Pope Benedict XVI Requests Immunity from Bush
Cube Jockey
post Aug 18 2005, 09:49 PM
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This is an interesting story and I'll bet it has Bush in a tight spot - Pope Seeks Immunity in Texas Molestation Case:
QUOTE
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.


The article claims he already has diplomatic immunity as a head of state, but apparently that isn't enough or the vatican lawyers wouldn't be making the request:
QUOTE
In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Gerry Keener, said Tuesday that the pope is considered a head of state and automatically has diplomatic immunity.


Questions for debate:
1. Should Bush grant the Pope immunity from prosecution or should he have to face charges and deal with the lawsuit through due process?

2. What are the political ramifications if Bush takes either position?
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BoF
post Sep 21 2005, 03:51 AM
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I have to go along with AC on this. From his links we see that from the beginning of our history we've had an ambassdor to the Vatican.

It would be hard to reverse a precedent of that longstanding.

For better or worse, it looks like we are stuck with it.

This post has been edited by BoF: Sep 21 2005, 03:52 AM
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Syfir
post Sep 21 2005, 02:56 PM
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QUOTE(BoF @ Sep 20 2005, 09:51 PM)
I have to go along with AC on this. From his links we see that from the beginning of our history we've had an ambassdor to the Vatican.

It would be hard to reverse a precedent of that longstanding.

For better or worse, it looks like we are stuck with it.
*



Actually that is not quite true, or at least is misleading. I admit I may have misunderstood BoF though and I could be playing with the wording too much.

The wording makes it sound like we have had an ambassador to the Vatican ever since the beginning and while we did have one at the beginning there was a long time we didn't. However that is just me being anal again.

The important point, which I agree with, is that we did have an ambassador in the early days of the nation. If the creators of the Constitution and, more importantly, the Bill of Rights did not see a problem with having an official delegation to the Vatican how can we say that it violates the First Amendment? They wrote it for heavens sakes (pun intended).

That brings up an interesting question of how much we are misinterpreting the whole church/state thing. innocent.gif Not trying to go off topic. Just throwing that out for food for though. MMMMmmmm fooood. wub.gif

Anyway......
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aevans176
post Sep 21 2005, 03:20 PM
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QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Aug 18 2005, 04:49 PM)
Questions for debate:
1.  Should Bush grant the Pope immunity from prosecution or should he have to face charges and deal with the lawsuit through due process?

2.  What are the political ramifications if Bush takes either position?
*



I believe that if it were up to me, I'd love to see the Pope deposed and possibly imprisoned. However, being a head of state, he holds the same immunity that any other head of state would. Frankly, this does not hold true for the rest of the domestic catholic church and their implications in the case.

Political ramifications? eeewwww....
We all know that the religious "right" tends to vote republican, but the Catholic church holds a unique place in American society. It represents ties to "old money", politics on both sides of the aisle, and is often intentionally seperated from the rest of Christianity in the US.
Will this positively or negatively affect the President? Who really knows. My first inclination is that it might polarize Catholics, but many may believe in due process and that the Church isn't beyond personal accountability. Many may be on the "Anti-GW" bandwagon already... who knows. Voting statistics don't accurately portray religious demographics to that extent.

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Phoenix24
post Sep 21 2005, 04:04 PM
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Do you think it was a coincidence that the Papal Conclave elected Joseph Ratzinger to Pope status because of his ties to the Office of Inquisitions??

What i mean is that they (the Cardinals) knew that Ratzinger was dirty or had ALOT of info on the sex abuse scandals... So they elected him Pope because they knew that he would be immune from any depositions...

Coincidence?? Of course the Cardinals knew Joseph Ratzinger was being sued as well before the Papal Conclave...

I DEFINATELY think he should be deposed... Anyways...
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Azure-Citizen
post Sep 21 2005, 04:49 PM
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QUOTE(Phoenix24 @ Sep 21 2005, 11:04 AM)
Do you think it was a coincidence that the Papal Conclave elected Joseph Ratzinger to Pope status because of his ties to the Office of Inquisitions??

What i mean is that they (the Cardinals) knew that Ratzinger was dirty or had ALOT of info on the sex abuse scandals... So they elected him Pope because they knew that he would be immune from any depositions...

Coincidence?? Of course the Cardinals knew Joseph Ratzinger was being sued as well before the Papal Conclave...

This would require over one hundred different individuals to have conspired together to elect Ratzinger to the position of Pope for life simply to help him avoid appearing for a civil suit deposition in another country. Frankly, its an incredulous proposition.

Since a conspiracy of that nature seems a bit beyond the realm of "proving" or "disproving," I would suggest considering this. It wasn't necessary for Ratzinger to become Pontiff to really avoid this civil suit. He could have continued to go about his business, and deliberately chosen to ignore the court-ordered subpoena for deposition. Why should he really care if a federal circuit judge sitting in Texas, USA finds him to be in contempt of court in a civil suit? As long as he doesn't set foot on United States soil, for all intensive purposes he is practically beyond reach.
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BoF
post Sep 21 2005, 05:45 PM
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QUOTE(Syfir @ Sep 21 2005, 09:56 AM)
Actually that is not quite true, or at least is misleading. I admit I may have misunderstood BoF though and I could be playing with the wording too much.


There was a period when the Papal States were part of Italy. From AC's link:

QUOTE
From the time of the absorption of the Papal States by Italy until the appointment of Myron Taylor as President Roosevelt's special envoy in 1939, there was no U.S. representative to the Holy See. Mr. Taylor held office until 1950, and Presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan all appointed special envoys.


http://www.americamagazine.org/reese/america/a-wilson.htm

There would only have been need for an Ambassador to Italy during that time.

*****************

Edited to add:

Apparently there have been some recent periods when there was no envoy. Just because we recognize a state does not obligate a president to appoint an ambassador. After the ugliness of the 1960 Presidential election, I can see why Kennedy might have avoided this at all cost. There have also been periods in our history when anti-Catholicism was more rampant than others. Appointing an ambassador during such times woud have created more political heat.

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I have no problem with the U. S. having an ambassador to the Vatican as long as the ambassador, the president or other other U. S. official, when making a state visit, does not participate in nonsense like kissing the papal ring.

If U. S. official[s] are Catholic or for some other reason want to do this, they can arrange for a private meeting, away from news cameras.

This post has been edited by BoF: Sep 22 2005, 02:02 AM
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Phoenix24
post Sep 30 2005, 06:24 PM
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QUOTE(Azure-Citizen @ Sep 20 2005, 07:06 PM)

Probably not.  I say this because establishment clause challenges to the Vatican's sovereign status and diplomatic relations have been litigated in the courts previously and they were rejected.  Essentially, the U.S. Goverment's relations with the Holy See are of a secular political nature, not a religious one.


Ostensibly they are secular. But what if Mr. Ratzinger has admitted in his pleadings with the court that he is part of the "Roman Catholic Church." Isnt that a judicial admission with which he is now estopped or stuck rather?
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Phoenix24
post Nov 3 2005, 06:39 PM
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Heres an interesting side note to this already interesting case... Judge Rosenthal has asked for a briefing schedule from the lawyers representing the John Doe's... Even though the United States has asked Judge Rosenthal to give the pope immunity, she has not granted it to him...

Im thinking this, Judge Rosenthal doesnt HAVE to give the Pope his immunity... I mean, she is a federal judge so if she rules against the immunity status, it wont bother her that much...

Furthermore, the bishop who was promoted to the Office of the Inquisitions, i dont know his name is also involved in a similar suit in the Northwest... I think his name was Bishop Lozano or something to that effect, since he became the Head of that office he recently asked a Federal judge to grant him immunity, that Federal Judge declined... smile.gif Precedence anyone??

Opinions??
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Giles
post Nov 9 2005, 05:48 PM
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The pope already has immunity so I think Bush will stay far away from the issue and not address it or get involved.

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Jaime
post Nov 9 2005, 07:12 PM
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QUOTE(Giles @ Nov 9 2005, 12:48 PM)
The pope already has immunity so I think Bush will stay far away from the issue and not address it or get involved.
*

Giles, please do not post one-liners. They are not constructive and therefore against the Rules.

TOPICS:
1. Should Bush grant the Pope immunity from prosecution or should he have to face charges and deal with the lawsuit through due process?

2. What are the political ramifications if Bush takes either position?

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