President Obama's government has taken the side of the Vatican over a lawsuit that is calling for the Holy See to be held responsible for the sex abuse crisis.
In a brief for the United States Supreme Court last Friday, the administration said that the standards for an exception to the immunity that foreign governments enjoy under American law have not been met in the case.
The brief suggests that the Supreme Court set aside the 2009 ruling of an appeals court that allowed the case to go forward, sending it back for further consideration.
This is the first time the US government has officially expressed an opinion about efforts to sue the Vatican in an American court.
In 2005, the US State Department intervened when a Texas lawsuit was brought holding Pope Benedict XVI personally responsible for the sexual abuse crisis. The department advised that the Pope could not be sued because as a head of state he has a personal guarantee of immunity.