556 CAPITAL UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW [43:555
and his Church accountable to civil authorities.9 Papal infallibility offers no
insulation from these attempts.
Under some circumstances, however, the Pope acting as the head of the
Catholic religion in implementing theological practices of the Catholic
Church is afforded civil protection.10 As will be discussed, these matters are
extremely complicated. The Pope needs legal representation in these
situations, particularly in light of the lingering resentment some hold against
the papacy and the Vatican.
While invoking papal infallibility in theological matters provides
limited insulation from private claims, another—legal—doctrine affords
additional protection. That doctrine involves the “head of state” and related
immunity against private civil claims recognized under international law.11
Part III of this Article will explore the efforts to hold the Pope liable for civil
torts in the United States, and the application of this “head of state”
immunity to these claims.12
What if the attempt to pursue an action against the Pope and Vatican is
brought not by individual litigants in a civil arena, but rather, by a nother
nation or body of nations against the nation-state that is the Vatican? It is
apparent that the Pope needs counsel and representation in these arenas as
well. Some international efforts directly challenge the religious teachings
of the Church, even on a subject covered by a papal infallibility
Who then provides the representation? And how are those attorneys
selected? After examining the doctrine of papal infallibility, its political
equivalent in the “head of state” immunity, and the unique status of the Holy
See, an attempt will be made to identify those who provide—and will
provide—the Pope with legal representation.14 To do this, this Article will
enter some murky areas of theology, politics, law, and sometimes plain old
human bureaucracy and disorganization.
10 See discussion infra Part III.
11 See discussion infra Parts III.A, III.C.
12 See discussion infra Part III.C.
13 See Vatican ‘Must Immediately Remove’ Child Abusers - UN, BBC (Feb. 5, 2014 11:36
14 See discussion infra Part IV.