Vatican responds strongly to criticism from the United Nations
Spokesman says report relied on reports from groups critical of the Church
The Vatican's chief spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi has responded to a scathing report from the United Nations on the Vatican's response to sexual abuse. Lombardi says that the report's recommendations "seem to go beyond its competencies and to interfere in the very doctrinal and moral positions of the Catholic Church."
Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, released a detailed and lengthy response to the report by the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child on February 7.
Lombardi's three-page statement charged that the U.N. committee had neglected to pay attention to information submitted by the Vatican and relied solely on reports from groups critical of the Church. Lombardi strongly suggested that the report had been drafted in advance, without waiting for the Vatican's own report.
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Lombardi charges that the U.N. committee had overstepped its jurisdiction to attack the Church's moral teaching, saying that "the Committee's comments in several directions seem to go beyond its powers and to interfere in the very moral and doctrinal positions of the Catholic Church, giving indications involving moral evaluations of contraception, or abortion, or education in families, or the vision of human sexuality, in light of own ideological vision of sexuality itself."
Father Lombardi did make an extra effort to reaffirm the Vatican's support for the United Nations and for the Convention on the Rights of the Child, saying that the Holy See recognized the value of "serious and well founded" criticism regarding the Church's response to the sex-abuse scandal.
Lombardi maintains that the U.N. committee's report was a biased presentation.
The Church has suffered from "unjustly harmful" media scrutiny in the sex-abuse crisis, Lombardi says. He pointed out that the U.N. committee's report was an example of that unequal treatment, pointed out that the same committee's reports on other nations have rarely been given media attention, even when the reports point to grave violations of children's rights.
Father Lombardi also complained that the UN committee's report shows a "lack of understanding of the specific nature of the Holy See." The Vatican, he explained, does not control the behavior of priests in every country, and cannot be responsible for law-enforcement efforts outside its own jurisdiction.
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