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Holy See Press Office Communiqué

Regarding the denunciation of the Holy See by lawyers in the United States at the federal tribunal of Milwaukee on behalf of one of the victims of clerical sexual abuse, the Holy See – in a press release issued on Friday, 23 April – referred to the following statement released by lawyer Jeffrey S. Lena.

First and foremost, sympathy is due to the victims of the criminal acts committed by Fr Lawrence Murphy. By sexually abusing children, Murphy violated both the law and the trust that his victims had placed in him.

While legitimate lawsuits have been filed by abuse victims, this is not one of them. Instead, the lawsuit represents an attempt to use tragic events as a platform for a broader attack – this one dependent on re-characterizing the Catholic Church as a worldwide “business enterprise”.

The case against the Holy See and its officials is completely without merit. Most of the complaint rehashes old theories already rejected by U.S. courts. With regard to Murphy himself, the Holy See and its officials knew nothing of his crimes until decades after the abuse occurred, and had no role whatsoever in causing plaintiff's injuries.

Given its lack of merit, the lawsuit – together with its de rigueur press conference and news releases – is simply the latest attempt by certain U.S. lawyers to use the judicial process as a tool of media relations.

If necessary, we will respond more fully to this lawsuit in court and at the appropriate time.

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