• A question of facts, of evidence, that cannot be distorted!

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    ON page 1 there is a report by Agence France-Presse saying that “The United Nations (UN) condemned the Vatican on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) for failing to stamp out child abuse and allowing systematic cover-ups, calling on the Church to remove clergy suspected of raping or molesting children.

    The Vatican hit back, accusing the world body’s child rights watchdog of distorting the facts by failing to take into account fresh efforts to rid the Church of child abusers.

    In an unprecedented report for a UN body, the Committee on the Rights of the Child slammed the Vatican for failing to live up to repeated pledges to put its house in order.”

    As usual, the mass media take the UN line as the Gospel truth.

    Not given proper space and proper hearing is the side of the Church.

    Vatican response
    The secular media mainly scoffed at the following, which is the Holy See’s response to the observations and recommendations released by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

    “[At] The end of its 65th session, the Committee on the Rights of the Child has published its Concluding Observations on the reviewed Reports of the Holy See and five States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Congo, Germany, Portugal, Russian Federation and Yemen).

    “According to the proper procedures forseen for the parties to the Convention, the Holy See takes note of the Concluding Observations on its Reports, which will be submitted to a thorough study and examination, in full respect of the Convention in the different areas presented by the Committee according to international law and practice, as well as taking into consideration the public interactive debate with the Committee, held on 16 January 2014.

    “The Holy See does, however, regret to see in some points of the Concluding Observations an attempt to interfere with Catholic Church teaching on the dignity of human person and in the exercise of religious freedom.

    “The Holy See reiterates its commitment to defending and protecting the rights of the child, in line with the principles promoted by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and according to the moral and religious values offered by Catholic doctrine.”

    Of value to those who wish to have the balanced picture, here are some words from the interview of Vatican Radio’s Sergio Centofanti with Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s Permanent Observer at the UN Offices in Geneva.

    Archbishop Tomasi: “My first impression: we need to wait, read attentively and analyze in detail what the members of this Commission have written. But my first reaction is of surprise, because of the negative aspects of the document they have produced and that it looks almost as if it were already prepared before the meeting of the Committee with the delegation of the Holy See, which had given in detail precise responses on various points, which have not been reported in this conclusive document or at least have not seemed to be taken into serious consideration. In fact, the document does not seem to be updated, taking into account what, over the last few years, has been done by the Holy See, with the measures taken directly from the authority of Vatican City State and then in various countries by the individual Episcopal Conferences. Lacking, therefore, is a correct and updated perspective, which in reality has seen a series of changes for the protection of children that, it seems to me, are difficult to find, at the same level of commitment, in other institutions or even in other States. This is simply a question of facts, of evidence, which cannot be distorted!”

    Some very incorrect ‘affirmations’ in the document
    Q. – How can you respond in a precise manner to the individual accusation of the UN Committee?

    Archbishop Tomasi: One can certainly not respond in two minutes to all the affirmations made—some very incorrect—in the Committee’s conclusive document. The Holy See will respond, because it is a member, a State that is part of the Convention: it has ratified it and intends to observe it in the spirit and letter of this Convention, without added ideologies or impositions that lie outside of the Convention itself. For instance: in its Preamble, the Convention on the Protection of Children talks about the defense of life and the protection of children before and after birth; whereas the recommendation made to the Holy See is that of changing its position on the question of abortion! Of course, when a child is killed it no longer has rights! Hence this seems to me to be a real contradiction of the fundamental objective of the Convention, which is the protection of children. This Committee has not done a good service to the United Nations, seeking to introduce and request the Holy See to change its non-negotiable teaching! So, it is somewhat sad to see that the Committee has not grasped in depth the nature and functions of the Holy See that, however, has expressed clearly to the Committee its decision to carry forward the Convention’s requests on the rights of the child, but defining precisely and protecting first of all those fundamental values that give real and effective protection to the child.

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