The Vatican is launching a legal defense that the church hopes will shield the pope from a lawsuit in Kentucky seeking to have him deposed over claims that the Holy See was negligent in failing to report abuse claims.
In court documents obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press, Vatican lawyers map out their strategy to try to dismiss the lawsuit before Benedict XVI can be questioned or secret documents subpoenaed.
The Vatican lawyers plan to argue the pope has immunity as head of state. They also say that a 1962 document is not a "smoking gun" proving a Vatican coverup. And the documents contend that American bishops who oversaw abusive priests were not employed by the Holy See.