In 1962 Cardinal Alfredo Ottavini, the Secretary of the Holy Office in the Vatican, issued an edict to all clergy everywhere. This set of orders directed clergymen to keep any all investigations of sexual predation by clergy completely secret from the outside world (as well as the edict itself)… under pain of excommunication and damnation to hell. All the while that the Catholic church has been following the rules set down in this edict, (supposedly superseded on 3 separate occasions, but then confirmed once again in 2001 by then Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI) they have publicly and repeatedly stated that they are complying with all state and federal laws concerning the reporting of such offenses to the proper, secular, authority. They have also been big liar-heads.
This has led to a trio of Kentucky men, all of whom were sexually abused by their respective priests, bringing a lawsuit against the Vatican. Unlike similar lawsuits in the past this one has not been dismissed out of hand because no one ever had a copy of this edict before. See the Vatican is a Sovereign Entity, a Nation unto itself, and thus immune to lawsuit. Apparently the three men are alleging that the bishops not only withheld information from the police, but also moved the priests to other diocese where they could find new and unknowing victims, are employees of the Vatican. This makes the Vatican an employer of American workers and subject to different laws.
Most insiders expect this not to go anywhere. The Sovereign Immunity laws will most likely protect the nation-church of the Vatican from financial responsibility for the orders they pass down to their workers. If it doesn’t there are a lot of potential litigants waiting in the wings to slap the Holy See with teddy bears showing where the Bad Priest touched them.
God should get better employee screening from now on.