Law's Recall to Rome: What is the Pope Up To?

I’m not a regular GD denizen but I’m not finding any SDMB discussion of this subject yet, so I want to bring it up.

First we have the Boston Herald on Friday citing unnamed Vatican sources stating Cardinal Law will be recalled to Rome by early June, to perform a special role at the Vatican.

Then we have Law’s denial of the story.

Rod Dreher in The Corner says the Herald stands by its story, and speculates that the Pope is shielding Law from the embarrassment of being deposed in an upcoming civil suit brought by the father of one of Shanley’s victims. (Note: Dreher is a faithful Catholic.) Unfortunately I can’t find the original Herald source for this; I’m taking Rod’s word for it.

When I heard on Friday that Law was being called to Rome, I thought “Good” - it will be seen as removal from his role as Archbishop of Boston. Now it seems possible that the Pope is rescuing Law from having to face the consequences of his actions here in the U.S.


Well, I’m not tht familiar with the specifics of civil procedure in the U.S., but the general rule is that if a party fails to comply with a necessary step in the pre-trial litigation process, the opposite side can seek a court order to compell that party to do do so. In an extreme case, the other party can rely on the non-compliance as the basis for the court to draw adverse inferences against the non-complying party, or even to decide the law suit against the non-complying party.

If those principles apply to this litigation, and Law avoids being deposed by staying out of the country, he would run the risk of the case being decided against him, and possibly against the church itself. That seems a bit drastic to avoid embarrassment.

Bottom line: if you’re being sued, you have to defend.

Yes, I would tend to agree with Northern Piper. The Vatican has access to a lot of expensive lawyers and would surely come up with something far subtler, that would not involve a high risk of the case being found for the plaintiffs.

I seem to recall that a deposition can be taken anywhere you are, so either Dreher knows something we don’t or we’re missing something, but transfer to Rome should not shield Law – except perhaps from there being a large mob of TV crews outside the door after the depo.

Then again, if the plaintiff is satisfied with having run Law out of town, can they be forced to pursue him aggressively?

Remember the discussion of diplomatic recognition of the Holy See (aka RCC)? - If Law is made some sort of ‘government’ official, diplomatic immunity could be invoked.

short form: look for another attempt at an end-run by the RCC.