Vatican

When Pope Benedict XVI announced his retirement, conspiracy theorists opined that the mounting allegations of a Church-sponsored cover-up of sexual abuse had reached the highest levels of the Vatican. That charge didn’t make much sense to me. As Pope, Benedict XVI possessed the legal immunities. Outside the office, his status is in doubt.

So if he felt some fear of prosecution, he should have opted to stay in the office for life.

It’s pretty simple logic. That said, “logic” is the sort of thing that, historically, gets you burned at the stake by the Catholic Church, so maybe I shouldn’t try to apply that to the Pope’s decision.

But the question remains: Does the “Pope Emeritus” retain legal immunities in retirement? And if not, what litigation is he inviting with his retirement?

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* Bank of America agreed to pay $2.43 billion, one of the biggest securities class-action settlements in history, to put the Merrill Lynch mess behind it. According to Professors Peter Henning and Steven Davidoff, B of A “is probably quite happy with the settlement given that it could have potentially faced billions of dollars more in liability in the case.” [DealBook / New York Times]

* “Oyez! Oyez! All persons having business before the Honorable, the Supreme Court of the United States, are admonished to draw near and give their attention, for the Court is now sitting.” Here is Robert Barnes’s take on the SCOTUS Term that starts today. [Washington Post]

* And here is Professor Garrett Epps’s review of Jeffrey Toobin’s new book on the Supreme Court, The Oath (affiliate link). [New York Times]

* How Dewey justify paying a big bonus to a member of the management team “when it has been widely pointed out that excessive compensation to the firm’s upper management significantly contributed to the firm’s collapse in the first place?” [Bankruptcy Beat via WSJ Law Blog]

* A high-profile Vatican trial raises these questions: “‘Did the butler do it?’ Or rather, ‘was it only the butler who did it?'” [Christian Science Monitor]

* Ben Ogden, an Allen & Overy associate who was killed in a Nepalese plane crash, R.I.P. [Am Law Daily]

I send my lawyers out unto the world.

I’m not sure it’s fair to call the Vatican “homophobic.” Homophobia contemplates a kind of fear. It’s a prejudice that, like so many, comes out of ignorance.

The Vatican is different. They think they’re at war with gays and lesbians — and who knows how many of these guys are at war with their own sexuality. And as opposed to a mere lack of understanding, there’s that annoying, Vatican-style, moral omnipotence that makes them feel they know exactly where gays and lesbians are going to end up. The Vatican isn’t homophobic so much as it’s homo-hating.

Given all that, I can’t say that I’m surprised that the Vatican is suing over a photoshopped picture of Pope Benedict XVI open-mouthed kissing another man. I’m sure surprised that the Unhate Foundation and an Italian fashion company had the stones to put the picture in an ad campaign all around Italy….

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Sigh.

I love it when the U.S. Government casts its lot with foreign entities that export child molesters to the United States. The WSJ Law Blog reports:

In a filing made late last week, the U.S. government weighed in, largely siding with the Vatican’s argument that the Ninth Circuit erred by allowing a sex-abuse case to go forward against the Vatican. The move represented a rare foray by Washington into the highly sensitive litigation.

Who knew that our courts were powerless to hold the Vatican accountable for sending us priests with a history of abusing children?

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