The retirement of Pope Benedict XVI has many Catholics discussing the religious significance of a Church with two living Popes. However, there are legal implications as well. Can the retired Pope now be subject to subpoena by litigants?
Pope Benedict is the first Pope to retire in nearly six centuries. Thus, his decision certainly puts the Vatican in legal unchartered waters, particularly given the ongoing clergy sexual abuse scandal. Theoretically, the retired Pope can no longer assert diplomatic immunity in law suits seeking to hold him accountable for sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.
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