Tuesday, June 08, 2010

John L. Allen Jr. deceptions call the Vatican as the 'little guy'

John L. Allen Jr, the highest paid journalist on earth, paid by the Vatican trillion dollars Bank and NCR can afford to sit all day and play with words to deceive his Catholic readers. Especially the Opus Dei Catholics - whose sole officially approved book he wrote after he was given exclusive access to Opus Dei archives and Opus Dei WORLD DOMINATION PLAN. Here he is at it again media spinning for the Vatican as the Pied Piper of Benedict XVI.

Lately after the Vatican buys the soul of Obama who quashed the American litigation against Benedict XVI, John L. Allen Jr. deceives his readers by referring to the Vatican as the “little guy” in the American priest pedophilia lawsuits against the Vatican. John L. Allen Jr. is a LIAR par excellence, the biggest Catholic LIAR on the planet. See how he lies, lies, and lies, as he will to his grave and he will join the company of John Paul II in hell.

More articles from John Allen below.

In Vatican lawsuits, who’s really the little guy?

by John L Allen Jr on Jun. 04, 2010

* All Things Catholic

Over the last decade, the Vatican has been hit with at least ten lawsuits in American courts, on matters ranging from an insurance scam to the sexual abuse crisis. Off and on I’ve written about these cases, and I’ve always been curious about one odd feature of the story: How is it that the Vatican’s legal brain trust in the States ended up concentrated in the notoriously left-leaning, anti-establishment haven of Berkeley, California?

In the abstract, Berkeley hardly seems the most obvious place to seek advocates for one of the world’s last remaining monarchies.

In search of an answer, I spent Tuesday of this week with Berkeley native son Jeffrey Lena, the principal architect of the Vatican’s legal strategy, and here’s what I discovered:

Understanding the Berkeley connection depends in part on answering the question, “Who’s really the little guy?”

As fate would have it, Tuesday was the day Lena and his colleagues filed a brief with the United States Supreme Court asking it to take up an Oregon case, Doe v. Holy See, in which a federal appeals court ruled last year that a lawsuit against the Vatican could proceed.

Lawyers for the victim in the Oregon case filed their own brief the same day, urging the Supreme Court to stay out of it. Both sides were reacting to a recent opinion from the Obama administration, signed by the Solicitor General’s Office, the Justice Department and the State Department, essentially endorsing the Vatican’s view that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 shields it from liability in the Oregon case.

The competing briefs are the latest development in the long-running saga of efforts to sue the Vatican in American courts. Of the ten suits brought to date, six have been resolved in the Vatican’s favor and four are still open. It’s not yet clear whether American courts will ultimately decide that they have jurisdiction over the remaining claims, three of which feature sex abuse victims seeking to hold the Vatican accountable.

For most Americans, these cases probably seem analogous to legal fights against Big Tobacco: The victims represent the “little guy,” struggling for justice against the institutional behemoth of the Holy See. The natural temptation is to cheer for the victims, and to see the Vatican’s assertion of immunity as yet another index of its arrogance.

Lena, however, says there’s another way to look at things.

What if we cast the Holy See, by consensus the smallest sovereign state on earth, as the “little guy” in these cases, defending the rights of all small states not to be pushed around by the court system of the world’s biggest superpower? In other words, what if we shift the context from the sex abuse crisis to equality in international relations?

For Lena, who did graduate work in history at UC-Berkeley, a framework based on concerns over the modern projection of American power around the world -- which, he says, can at times border on hegemony -- seems right on the money.

Understandably, Lena is reluctant to talk much about his own vision of these cases – his job, after all, is to represent his client. Moreover, Lena insists that he is determined to fight these claims because of the Vatican’s “factual innocence.” He says it’s just not true that decisions about transferring abuser priests or concealing their crimes were made in Rome, as these lawsuits generally allege. Lena insists that Vatican officials often never even knew these priests existed until they were being dismissed from the clerical state (usually long after the abuse had occurred), or their names popped up in the press.

But Lena also sees a bigger picture: Preserving a level playing field on the international scene. Respect for sovereign immunity (and international law generally), he argues, is a bulwark against strong states imposing their will on weaker ones.

Though Lena wouldn’t use this language, what’s really at stake in the Vatican lawsuits, from this point of view, is what diplomats often call a choice between the “force of law” and the “law of force” in relations among states. In other words, should nations which lack significant military and economic muscle be subject to the dictates of superpowers?

For the record, Lena says he can understand why it’s hard for victims to see things that way. He’s often said that he admires the courage of victims in coming forward, and he’s surprisingly gracious about the lawyers who represent them -- noting that their actions offer a classic example of the power of civil litigation in America to engender social reform.

Yet Lena also wants people to perceive a deeper drama to these cases, as American courts grapple with what is perhaps the most important legal question any court can ask: “What’s the extent of our power to hear a case?” An aggressively expansionist view of jurisdiction, he argues, can unwittingly produce a shift in the global balance of power.

That way of framing the issue is undoubtedly closer to the way many Vatican officials see things, and it also dovetails with the Holy See’s longstanding diplomatic efforts in favor of “multilateralism,” meaning a more equitable international system. A large part of the reason popes have repeatedly called for a stronger system of global governance -- as Benedict XVI put it in Caritas in Veritate, a global system with “real teeth” -- is to ensure that smaller states have a meaningful voice in global affairs, as opposed to being subject to superpower dictates. (That was also an important reason the Vatican opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, insisting that any decision on a use of force should have come from the United Nations.)

Of course, Lena knows that “American Exceptionalism” is hardwired into our cultural DNA, and this can foster in our courts -- or our politicians, or our military -- some sense of moral duty to right wrongs around the world. Yet experience teaches that when America is perceived as unilaterally imposing its values, the consequences for its global reputation and the success of its diplomatic efforts can be toxic. There’s also a more pragmatic argument for restraint, which is that how American courts treat other nations today may be the way foreign courts treat the United States in the future.

Interestingly, Lena says that American reporters have essentially ignored this aspect of the story, whereas foreign reporters grasp it immediately. What this suggests, perhaps, is that understanding these cases in terms of weak states and superpowers, rather than just victims and the Vatican, comes more naturally outside American airspace.

Maybe it took a Berkeley guy whose orientation is internationalist and historical, rather than merely legal, to see defending the Vatican as a way of addressing concerns about unwarranted expansion of U.S. power. Nonetheless, Lena raises a question that’s at least worth pondering: Ultimately, what are these cases about? Are they about seeking justice for the victims, or are they about ensuring that American courts do not become the arbiters of all the world’s ills?

Even if the most convincing answer may be “both,” that alone suggests there’s more at stake in the business of suing the Vatican than meets the eye.

[John Allen is NCR senior correspondent. His e-mail address is jallen@ncronline.org.]

Follow the money. What does
Submitted by frère charles du désert OSB OBLAT (Congrégation de Subiaco) (not verified) on Jun. 04, 2010.

Follow the money.

What does the Vatican have?

The Vatican Bank, notoriously corrupt, bag boy for any mob, preserved in its corruption even if this required the neutralization of a supreme reformer.
What does the Vatican Bank know?

About the inner workings of US corruption?

Justice in anglo America is bought
and sold.

Justice goes to the bigger bucks.

The Vatican is now six out of ten with the other four still open.
going 100%.

The real estate might be small, just a few city blocks in Rome, but the Vatican Bank bears great power and influence.

The Vatican by anybody's "consensus" is not the "smallest sovereign state on earth" but a powerful bag boy who holds all the strings.

For a credible source see NCR correspondent Penny Lernoux's In Banks We Trust

* reply

I fail to comprehend how
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Jun. 04, 2010.

I fail to comprehend how priests that sexually abuse parishioners and/or their children and suing the Vatican, employer of these priests, can be construed as “American Exceptionalism”. Is it common practice to condone sexual abuse in other countries? Is it not the responsibility of the accused (Vatican) to prove their case? These abuse cases occurred in the United States of America, not another country. I find it hard to believe those who have experienced abuse are concerned about other countries, but more about seeking justice here at home by the company (Vatican) that employees the offenders.

How did Lena acquire insight as he stated: "He says it’s just not true that decisions about transferring abuser priests or concealing their crimes were made in Rome, as these lawsuits generally allege. Lena insists that Vatican officials often never even knew these priests existed until they were being dismissed from the clerical state (usually long after the abuse had occurred), or their names popped up in the press." Did he personally examine Vatican employees? Did he acquire sworn and witnessed testimony from these employees?

While it may be true that "What if we cast the Holy See, by consensus the smallest sovereign state on earth," I have a hard time seeing the Vatican as "the “little guy” in these cases, defending the rights of all small states not to be pushed around by the court system of the world’s biggest superpower?" I also fail to comprehend why he would conclude with the following statement: "In other words, what if we shift the context from the sex abuse crisis to equality in international relations?" To the best of my knowledge, the United States of America is not the entity suing the Vatican, rather it is individuals who have been harmed.
While the Vatican may be small in size, it is extremely wealthy and has access to an enormous army of religious and parishioners. Count the people and the money before claiming the Vatican is the "little guy".
It is time we get to the bottom line. I am pretty sure Matthew 25:40 did not refer to states, no matter how large or small.

* reply

The Church is a legal

Submitted by Rachel (not verified) on Jun. 04, 2010.
The Church is a legal chameleon...it's not a country with diplomatic privilege until they need to get out of a lawsuit; it doesn't employ bishops, but it is the only entity which can fire and hire bishops...
Chameleons aren't known for the trait of responsibility.

* reply

To position this as a
Submitted by G Bullough (not verified) on Jun. 04, 2010.
To position this as a question of sovereign immunity where, for example, someone might win a judgement in the future that would allow them to take over Monaco is just ridiculous.

That is the straw at which Lena is grasping. Unfortunately, for reasons other than the genuine principle of respecting sovereignty, other governments including ours seem prepared to help him to do so.

We should distinguish between The Vatican (the state) and The Vatican (the parent corporation of the largest multi-national non-profit corporation).

Imagine if BP purchased a privately-held island, declared it to be "The Republic of BP," and then moved its corporate headquarters there.
Would they be able to hide behind "soverign immunity" to avoid liability for the oil spill in the Gulf?

This is exactly what Lena and his client are trying to sell us.

* reply

Lena's claim of protecting
Submitted by david clohessy (not verified) on Jun. 04, 2010.

Lena's claim of protecting "small nations" is eerily reminiscent of Nixon's claim to be protecting "the presidency."

David Clohessy, Director, SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, 7234 Arsenal Street, St. Louis MO 63143, 314 566 9790 cell (SNAPclohessy@aol.com)

* reply

Leave it to a lawyer to slyly
Submitted by Aileen (not verified) on Jun. 04, 2010.
Leave it to a lawyer to slyly cast the egregiously guilty into the role of victim… all for some nebulous international and political 'greater good'.
1. Over the centuries the Vatican has engaged in its own brand of “hegemony” — welding its political and military power like a sledgehammer of torture and murder until it finally lost its vast territories… reduced to land holding that can be measured in acres as the result of its own political arrogance. Now it wants to posture as poor “little guy” me. Of course the Vatican wants to “shift the context from the sex abuse crisis to equality in international relations”. Shifting the focus has been the ongoing game-plan since the tidal wave of abuse revelations began.
2. What about “Vatican Exceptionalism”? A “level playing field”? Really? What sort of 'level field' do we have when those sexually abused during their minor years are up against the affluence and political/religious exceptionalism of an arrogant Vatican State — a state which claims diplomatic immunity, and shields sexual predators and their accomplices within its confines. Of course the Vatican wants “smaller states to have a meaningful voice in global affairs” since the Vatican itself is now a “small state” among many nations. What they don’t want is accountability and consequences for their criminal behavior. That is the bottom line at the end of all the parsed legal-speak.
3. Yes indeed the United States government has a vested interest in not setting precedent for international accountability for crimes committed. Sadly, our own government has shamelessly committed wars crimes in the name of its own perceived “exceptionalism” — torturing prisoners, and violating our own federal laws and international laws. To this day our own predator drones are bombing entire villages of civilians (including women, children and the unborn) off the map, in the bizarre hope of killing perhaps one designated “terrorist”. Our own government, like the Vatican, claims the superior moral high ground while simultaneously engaging in, or tacitly condoning, the most heinous of crimes.
John, surely you and your lawyer pal can do better than what is reflected in your commentary.


Vatican's US attorney responds to Supreme Court action

National Catholic Reporter

by John L Allen Jr on Jun. 28, 2010 NCR Today

Jeffrey Lena, the California-based attorney who represents the Vatican in American litigation, issued this statement following the announcement that the U.S. Supreme Court would not hear an appeal from the Holy See.

The Vatican was asking the federal court to stop a law suit filed in Oregon that accuses the Vatican of transferring a priest from city to city despite repeated accusations of sexual abuse.

Lena's statement:

"Today the Supreme Court decided not to grant the Holy See's petition for certiorari. These decisions are made based upon the Supreme Court's docket and what cases it wishes to hear each term. The decision not to hear the case is not a comment on the merits of our case (importantly, the United States does agree that we are correct on the merits). The effect of the Supreme Court's decision is to cause the case to return to the district court in Oregon, where the additional remaining defenses will be heard. Plaintiff currently has one jurisdictional theory left. That theory is that the priest who committed the abuse was an "employee" of the Holy See.


At Friday, June 25, 2010, Blogger anagasto said...

There is a fun fact missing. You say:
"1. Over the centuries the Vatican has engaged in.."

but the Vatican was created by an agreement between Mussolini and the Pope. It is young as a State, see?


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