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'You can't call Pope to court on sex abuse'

The Vatican is asking a judge to reject an attempt to question Pope Benedict XVI under oath in a sex abuse lawsuit on the grounds that there has been no evidence of a link to church officials in Rome.

Papers filed in Kentucky also say that forcing Benedict, left, a head of state, to give a deposition would violate international law. The lawsuit accuses the Vatican of orchestrating a cover-up of priests sexually abusing children throughout America.

Louisville attorney William McMurry asked to depose Benedict and other Vatican officials in a motion in March and the filing yesterday were in response. Mr McMurry also asked that the Vatican turn over administrative documents and respond to questions related to the abuse scandal in the U.S.

Attorneys for the Vatican argue that thousands of documents provided in a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville several years ago have turned up no connection to Rome.

The Louisville archdiocese reached a settlement in 2003 with more than 240 abuse victims represented by Mr McMurry for $25m (€20.2m).

Mr McMurry will have an opportunity to reply to the Vatican's latest arguments in a response to the court. He said: "I have yet to meet a Catholic, who does not believe that the Holy See has the absolute right to control the day-to-day activities of a bishop's work,"