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United Nations to take Vatican to task over sexual abuse scandal

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/6/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (

Vatican is a signatory to the anti-torture and child protection treaties

The U.N. Committee Against Torture is expected to address the Holy See's handling of the sexual abuse scandal and its alleged infringement on human rights. Some reports indicate it is also set t is set to question the Church's unequivocal opposition to procured abortion as some form of "torture".

As a signatory to the anti-torture and child protection treaties, the Vatican is required to make periodic reports about efforts to implement policies and promote change.

As a signatory to the anti-torture and child protection treaties, the Vatican is required to make periodic reports about efforts to implement policies and promote change.


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (
5/6/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Europe, United nations, sex abuse scandals, The Vatican

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Warning if the U.N. panel veers off topic, as it did with its sibling U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child this year, Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi spoke against "ideological pressure".

"A contributory factor is often the pressure exercised over the Committees and public opinion by [nongovernmental organizations] with a strong ideological character and orientation, to bring the issue of the sexual abuse of minors into the discussion on torture, a matter which relates instead to the Convention on the rights of the child," Father Lombardi said. "The extent to which this is instrumental and forced is clear to any unbiased observer."

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The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child rebuked the Vatican earlier this year. The committee called the church's handling of the sexual abuse scandal and suggested that the Catholic Church update its canon to approve homosexuality, abortion, birth control and premarital sex.

As a signatory to the anti-torture and child protection treaties, the Vatican is required to make periodic reports about efforts to implement policies and promote change.

The Holy See's report on torture dates back to December 2012. The U.N. Committee Against Torture is scheduled to review and discuss the report Monday and Tuesday and present its conclusions May 23.

The Vatican's report says that "the Holy See condemns the use of torture as a grave violation of the Commandment 'You shall not kill' and works towards its abolition. The Holy See condemns other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, which may not amount to torture but are equally contrary to the inherent dignity of the human person and his or her integrity and identity."

Some organizations which grew up in response to the sexual abuse scandal have accused some in Catholic leadership of poorly responding to the crisis with a kind of "too little, too late" response. 

Others seem to have an ideological agenda. They increasingly appear to be using the crisis, which the Holy See is aggressively and seriously confronting globally, to attack the Catholic Church because of its unchangeable teaching on the dignity of every human life, including the life of children in the womb, and marriage as solely existing between one man and one woman.  

Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, issued a statement urging the U.N. committee not to let the Vatican continue to "endanger children and dodge accountability."

"Now, for the first time, U.N. panels are addressing, in a fair and forthright way, the continuing sexual violence and cover ups in the church. And now, apologists for the Vatican cry foul,"

Ms. Blaine said. "We ask that you keep in mind that torture and violence can be subtle and manipulative. Or it can be blatant and brutal. Either way, it's horribly destructive to the human spirit, especially when inflicted on the young by the powerful, on the truly devout by the allegedly 'holy.'"

The World Organization Against Torture said that by allowing rape and other sexual abuse, "the Holy See has failed its duties to prevent torture and other acts of ill-treatment within its jurisdiction, thereby violating [the Convention Against Torture].

"Although the Holy See has started to recognize the seriousness and scale of the abuse, this has not resulted in clear action to ensure that allegations of child sexual abuse are reported publicly and investigated and prosecuted by law enforcement authorities," the organization said.


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