"But haven't you heard—the law doesn't apply to us!"

[Trigger warning for clergy abuse.]

SCOTUS made surprisingly decent decision this morning:
The US Supreme Court declined Monday to hear an appeal by the Vatican in a landmark case that opens the way for priests in the United States to stand trial for pedophilia.

Allowing a federal appeals court ruling to stand, the decision means Vatican officials including theoretically Pope Benedict XVI could face questioning under oath related to a litany of child sex abuse cases.
In case you're understandably wondering how it could even be in question whether a US priest would stand trial in US courts for US crimes committed in the US against US residents, the Vatican was essentially arguing diplomatic immunity, claiming that priests are immune as Vatican state employees under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

The federal appeals court cited one of the exceptions to that Act, "ruling the lawsuit has sufficiently alleged that [accused priest Reverend Andrew Ronan] was an employee of the Vatican acting within the scope of his employment under Oregon law." SCOTUS agreed.

There is another lawsuit pending in Kentucky in which the Vatican claims US bishops are employees of the Holy See and thus immune from prosecution. Let us hope the SCOTUS is as similarly disinclined to make an exception for the bishops as they were for the priests.

Meanwhile, over in Europe where the history comes from [/izzard] , the Vatican is positively "indignant" that Belgian police investigating sex abuse allegations had the unmitigated temerity to, um, investigate.

Of particular concern is Belgian police having drilled small holes into the tombs of two Belgian cardinals at Mechelen cathedral, to send in cameras in search of hidden documents, a part of the investigation that was carried out "after someone mentioned [to investigators that] work had recently been carried out on the grave's exterior."

In a statement, the Vatican called the search—which also resulted in the seizure of "nearly 500 files and a computer from the offices of a Church commission investigating allegations of sex abuse"—a "violation" of both the graves and the "confidentiality of precisely those victims for whom the raids were carried out."

Somehow, I'm not feeling any sympathy that the Church feels "violated" by an investigation into a global sex abuse problem it conspired to conceal for more than a century.

And their affected concern for survivors is revolting. I would hope that no one yet suffers from the misapprehension that the Catholic Church is more concerned for protecting survivors' confidentiality than for protecting the anonymity of its abusive priests.

[H/Ts to Shakers Constant Comment and TehKenny.]

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