October 25, 2005

Holy See seeks to limit scope of Levada deposition in bankruptcy of Oregon archdiocese



By NICOLE WINFIELD / Associated Press

The Holy See is seeking to limit the scope of a deposition that the senior American at the Vatican, Archbishop William Levada, is to give concerning the bankruptcy filing of his former archdiocese in Portland, Ore., that was prompted by clergy sex abuse lawsuits.

Lawyers for victims in the case had sought to have Levada testify about Vatican policies in addition to the practices of the Portland archdiocese concerning the abuse of minors by priests, saying he was "uniquely qualified" to shed light on the issue.

On Monday, lawyers for the Holy See and Levada filed a motion in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Oregon arguing, among other things, that Levada shouldn't have to testify about the Vatican's policies because he enjoys immunity as an official of a foreign state the Holy See and because the Vatican's own laws and confidentiality oaths prevent it.

If Levada were to violate such oaths, he could face "excommunication, confinement to a residence or a house of penance for up to five years, and a prohibition from holding any office or faculty," according to the court documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Posted by kshaw at October 25, 2005 07:29 PM