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Vatican uses claim to statehood in bid to avoid another sex abuse lawsuit.

A REPORT FROM THE NAtional Catholic Reporter's John L. Allen Jr. disclosed that Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano appealed to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to "intervene in a US lawsuit naming the Holy See as a defendant in a sex abuse case."

In June 2004, attorney William McMurray filed a class-action lawsuit against the Vatican in US District Court for the Western District of Kentucky on behalf of more than 240 victims of clergy sex abuse. In addition to unspecified monetary damages from the Vatican, McMurray also requested injunctions requiring the Vatican to "cease its violations of the internationally recognized human rights of children" and "to report all allegations of childhood sexual abuse" in the United States. The Vatican is seeking immunity from prosecution, which Vatican spokesman Joaquin NavarroVails confirmed: "It's obvious and reasonable that the Holy See would present its positions as a sovereign entity to the American State Department, and recall the immunity for its acts that international law anticipates."

A campaign calling on the United Nations to reconsider whether the Vatican is, in fact, a state is ongoing. The "See Change" Campaign ( was initiated in 1999 and is now supported by more than 700 groups in 80 countries. It argues that as a matter of law, the Holy See does not meet the criteria laid out for a state and should not be considered as such by the UN.
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Title Annotation:The Church and State
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2005
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