U.N. panel blasts Vatican handling of clergy sex abuse, church teachings on gays, abortion

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A United Nations committee issued a scathing indictment Wednesday of the Vatican’s handling of child sexual abuse cases involving clerics, releasing a report that included criticism of church teachings on homosexuality, gender equality and abortion.

The report demanded that the Vatican immediately turn over to criminal investigators any known or suspected abusers and end its “code of silence” by enforcing rules ordering dioceses to report abuse to local authorities. It also called on the Vatican to open its archives on sexual allegations against clerics.

The range of the report appeared to infuriate the Vatican, which last month sent two top officials to appear before the U.N. panel in Geneva for the first public accounting of the Holy See’s handling of abuse allegations. Officials said they are still studying the findings, but responded angrily to what they described as recommendations that are ideologically biased. They said the United Nations has no right to weigh in on church teachings.

“Trying to ask the Holy See to change its teachings is not negotiable,” Silvano Maria Tomasi, the Vatican’s permanent observer at the United Nations in Geneva, told Vatican Radio. He suggested that gay rights groups had influenced the commission.

The Vatican has been riding a wave ofpositive publicity since Pope Francis was elected in March. But the report — which is not binding, meaning the United Nations has no way to enforce its recommendations — drew attention to the single largest stain on the Catholic Church’s global image: Its handling of allegations of sexual abuse by clerics.

Written By: Anthony Faiola and Michelle Boorstein
continue to source article at washingtonpost.com

39 COMMENTS

  1. Good to see things moving in the right direction. Now the legitimacy of Vatican City’s ‘statehood’ needs to be examined and revoked, if possible.

    More important matters- WHY is the Religion of Peace still getting a free pass, despite being infinitely more dangerous and menacing than Catholicism? WHY are all western leaders in a state of complete denial of what is written in the Koran, that book which, unlike the Bible is for all time true, the immutable 100% accurate Word of Allah?

    Could it be, just possibly, that said leaders are terrified of the consequences of exposing Islam? AS IF Joe Public is as ignorant as these leaders hope he is? Bad news, Obama/ Cameron/ Hollande/ and the rest, the Islamic cat is out of the bag, the internet has delivered. WE KNOW. It no longer needs street beheadings, muslim (OH sorry BBC- “east Asian’) grooming gangs… We now all about Muhammad, sadistic evil genius (oops, I mean the perfect role model for Muslims).

    Nothing can be gained by delaying the inevitable; kicking the Islamic can down the road only makes the problem more intractable.

  2. releasing a report that included criticism of church teachings on homosexuality, gender equality and abortion.

    Fantastic, someone telling the idiots they can’t teach bigotry, swiftly followed by,

    They said the United Nations has no right to weigh in on church teachings.

    Yes we do if it affects people on this planet, fuck off.

  3. Well the whole RCC response is very predictable, and seems to be a) it is none of your business; b) you can’t preach to us: c) Sodomy is morally reprehensible unless we are doing it to children by force d) You can’t touch us so fuck off.

    Child abuse the single largest stain on the RCC? Who are they kidding. The RCC has been up to its neck in more human misery than any other organisation in the last 2 millennia.

  4. Here is the BBC take on this:-

    The UN has said that the Vatican should “immediately remove” all clergy who are known or suspected child abusers. – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26044852
    >

    The UN watchdog for children’s rights denounced the Holy See for adopting policies which allowed priests to sexually abuse thousands of children.

    In a report, it also criticised Vatican attitudes towards homosexuality, contraception and abortion.

    The Vatican responded by saying it would examine the report – but also accused its authors of interference.

    ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

    David Willey BBC News, Rome

    The Vatican quickly moved into damage control mode after publication of the UN report.

    While promising “thorough study” of the criticisms, the Holy See robustly rejects some of the points made by the UN.

    The Vatican has always given precedence to Church law, called Canon Law, over local criminal law in dealing with ecclesiastical crime. It does not easily tolerate interference by civil authorities in ecclesiastical matters.

    The recent case of a senior Vatican diplomat, a Polish archbishop, who was suddenly recalled to Rome from his post in Santo Domingo after serious police accusations of sexual abuse of minors there is a case in point.

    The Vatican has refused an extradition request by justice authorities in Poland and says an internal police investigation is under way inside Vatican City.

  5. OP:

    “Trying to ask the Holy See to change its teachings is not negotiable,” Silvano Maria Tomasi, the Vatican’s permanent observer at the United Nations in Geneva, told Vatican Radio.

    Hmm, now why am I reminded of Ken Ham ?

    • In reply to #10 by Philoctetes:

      Failure by the RCC to put its house in order should be met with its removal from the United Nations, a body where it has wielded too much influence for too long.

      Definitely let’s get them out of there. It would be nice if countries started withdrawing their ambassadors to the Holy See as well. Going to be tricky in the case of Australia with the PM an ex-seminarian.

      Michael

    • In reply to #10 by Philoctetes:

      Failure by the RCC to put its house in order should be met with its removal from the United Nations, a body where it has wielded too much influence for too long.

      Does the Holy See have its own currency? Does it have its own supply of utilities? Does it have an independent transport system? Does it have a football team that plays at international level? Does it have any such trappings?

      If not, then it isn’t a Nation and should not be a member of the UN in any case.

  6. The RCC has a long history of sexual abuse and it’s subsequent cover up, if it had be any normal organisation the leaders would have been locked up years ago. This bunch of low life criminals can simply tell the U N that they do not do anything that they do not agree with.

  7. The so-called Holy See, especially the Vatican, seems to have created for itself an international legal bubble where it can pretend to be a state, and enjoy all the benefits that come with that, while shunning some of the responsibilities of statehood — such as rigorously protecting the security of people, in particular children, who come within its jurisdiction. For way too long, the Vatican has had its own wafer and eaten it too.

    This shouldn’t be allowed to persist. Either the Vatican relinquishes authority to the Italian republic, including criminal prosecutions of alleged crimes, or it actively accepts all its responsibilities, like any responsible state is supposed to, the first being ensuring justice is done and, more importantly, seen to be done via transparent legal proceedings.

    Otherwise, like with many failing states, the UN should consider sending in the blue berets!

  8. From the article:

    They [the Vatican officials] said the United Nations has no right to weigh in on church teachings.

    Actually, the United Nations, like anyone else affected by the problems arising from the influence of church teachings, do have the right to “weigh in on” those teachings. The United Nations are not trying to formulate church teaching for the church, but they are telling the church what is wrong with its teaching, and, given the circumstances, they have every right to do so.

    Times are changing for the better, if the Roman Catholic Church is being publicly rebuked and criticized by so prominent a public body as the U N human rights committee. This church is not accustomed to heeding the judgement of anyone else on earth but to expecting all others on earth to heed its judgements. But the superstition that has thus empowered this church for centuries since antiquity and bewitched everyone into deferring to it has been petering out for some time now, and people are seeing the said church at last for what it really is: a self-serving, superstition-purveying organization blinded by its conceit of divine authority to its obligations to society, even regarding itself as above secular (i.e. worldly) law and answerable only to a higher being the only discernible characteristic of which is its absence.

    I hope we see secular authorities and representative bodies making many more such demands for accountability from religious bodies from now on. The time for respecting religion and similar superstitions is over.

  9. Funny how many non-bindng reports use courageously appropriate language for their findings yet binding reports, apart from being few and far between, are so vague you couldn’t enforce them if you tried. One question is clearly answered here – the Vatican is above the law and, despite some good people’s best intentions, most of the lawmakers are very happy wtih that. The new smiley PR friendly pope is the same as the suspect character he replaced, when it comes down to it.

  10. The Catholic leopard does not change its spots.Muted, somewhat because of the age that we are living in, but it is still the arrogant, obscene institution of yore.

    These perverts and defenders of perverts, should be chastened and willing to reveal the filthiness that the bloated and rotten institution is hiding.One might then have a modicum of respect for them but no, they are INFURIATED and see themselves as being above the law.They disgust me.

  11. They said the United Nations has no right to weigh in on church teachings

    at exactly the moment when shutting up and showing a little contrition would have been considered a smart move

  12. But delving into [church] doctrine also appeared to push the focus on sex abuse off track

    Per the last two paragraphs – the nun is positively indignant, or perhaps, the Vatican put siller in the sister’s kist to make such statements. Divert! Divert!

    Bottom line, the UN felt justified (I presume) to include other reproductive issues – to wit, they are part and parcel of ‘human rights’.

  13. The real extent of the RC preversions is probably so massive and obscene that they will be forced to fight disclosure with every thing they have to avoid imprisonment and extinction!! Human nature being what it is, makes it likely that only a few victims will speak out so the true scale of the abuse will never be known.
    It is actually incomprehensible how hypocritical and devious they can be and I think the world is starting to realise it at last!. Its time the world court in the hague gets involved and prosecutes them for crimes against humanity…. where humanity means defenceless and vulnerable children! (many of whom exist in the first place because of RC objection to birth control.)

  14. I guess it’s too much to ask that the U.N. will release a similar report criticising the Muslim world for its teachings on homosexuality and gender equality. If that happened, the OIC would probably throw a fit so big it would be seen from space.

    • In reply to #26 by Aztek:

      I guess it’s too much to ask that the U.N. will release a similar report criticising the Muslim world for its teachings on homosexuality and gender equality…

      Aztec, would you allow criticism of this “despicable” behaviour by your Pope’s cult if the UN would first encourage Muslims to rewrite or reinterpret their Koran?

      How do Muslim teachings justify the rape of thousands of children and the protection of the perpetrators by Xians generally?

      I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed by debjanrobin and Richard01. Bluebird identified your Vatican tactic Aztec: “Divert!Divert!”

        • In reply to #32 by bluebird:

          In reply to #31 by Len Walsh:

          bluebird identified…

          Incorrect. Post written prior to reading comments.

          Apologies bluebird. I appreciate you referred to the UN having included other issues with their complaint of Secrecy about their industrial-grade rape of kids. You pointed out that these ancillary issues were being discussed as a diversion to the central complaint raised. I agree.

          The Vatican make no Secret of their bigotry towards gays or their contempt for women. Silvano Tomasi has actively protected his mega-cult from UN scrutiny for years now. Catholic bigotry is an intractable problem but the issue here is to dismantle the ring of predators who have always enjoyed relocation instead of being denounced.

          My post was a response to Aztek’s diversion into “Muslims are bad too”. Divert divert….

          Aztek’s tactics are those of the Vatican.

          • In reply to #33 by Len Walsh:

            but the issue here is…

            Yes – I just felt compelled to highlight what was hiding in the shadow of the OP.

            I.e., surprise turned to anger per the nun and her fantastic (negative meaning here) statements. Considering she’s the spokeswoman for the ‘Catholic Bishops’, makes perfect sense tho.

            My beef – there are any number of sisters who aren’t so strict, including a nun who was punished for going against church doctrine after helping a pregnant woman, and the u.s. league of nuns who put forth complaints against the Vatican. Let them speak more, do a ‘Norma Rae’!

      • In reply to #31 by Len Walsh:

        In reply to #26 by Aztek:

        I guess it’s too much to ask that the U.N. will release a similar report criticising the Muslim world for its teachings on homosexuality and gender equality…

        Aztec, would you allow criticism of this “despicable” behaviour by your Pope’s cult if the UN would first encour…

        and

        My post was a response to Aztek’s diversion into “Muslims are bad too”. Divert divert….

        Aztek’s tactics are those of the Vatican.

        Wow. If I was a person who reacted emotionally to arguments, I would probably feel very hurt for being accused of being a troll for the Vatican. Luckily I’m very unemotional. I can assure you that as an explicit atheist, implicit agnostic, anti-theist, secularist, humanist, rationalist, materialist, free-thinker, occasional apatheist, occasional ignostic, and overall scientifically minded person, a supporter of the Vatican is the last thing I am.

        I admit that there are cases where people try to muddle a discussion by introducing issues that are unrelated to the topic at hand. But that is surely not my intention. I am not suggesting that the U.N. refrains from criticising the Vatican until they do the same for other religions, or that the U.N’s criticism does not matter because, as you said, “Muslims are bad too”. I applaud the U.N. for it’s stance, but I hope that it’ll also turn its critical eye towards other religions. That is my point.

        I’m very well aware that many Christians in Western countries like to play the “why are you always criticism us, what about the Muslims?” card. They are hoping that Christianity would be criticised as little as they feel Islam is. But I’m hoping for the opposite: that other religions would face the same amount of (well-earned) criticism that Christianity receives.

        • In reply to #35 by Aztek:

          In reply to #31 by Len Walsh:

          I guess it’s too much to ask that the U.N. will release a similar report criticising the Muslim world for its teachings on homosexuality and gender equality…

          I admit that there are cases where people try to muddle a discussion by introducing issues that are unrelated to the topic at hand.

          Thanks. I only complained when you so conspicuously attempted it on this unlikely thread.

          UN bashing is a distinctively Religious Right activity. Most Xians have more parochial interests, parish or town,leaving international politics to others. Political zealots imagine hordes of others conspiring against them. It’s religion in disguise, a Fifth Generation Freedom Fighter, resplendent in a Stealth suit to confound the enemy.

          However, the Convention on the Rights of the Child is popularly ratified and is the most successful UN treaty ever agreed to. Only two member jurisdictions/countries have failed to become signatory; Somalia and the USA. Every other UN member, including The Vatican, agreed to implement local laws to protect kids from harm.

          This topic then, relates to heinous crimes committed against “tens of thousands of children” specifically, by a member state. The UN was responding to The Vatican’s 14 year delay in submitting an obligatory periodic report and of failing to acknowledge the extent of these crimes.

          Canon Law conflicts with the provisions of the agreed Convention. This report also expressed concern for the children of Catholic priests who are routinely disowned, and of the barbaric enslavement of young girls in laundries, not to mention stealing their babies.

          The UN report states -

          *The Committee urges the Holy See to: (a) Explicitly oppose all corporal punishment in childrearing, in the same way it opposes torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; (b) Amend both Canon Law and Vatican City State laws to explicitly prohibit all corporal punishment of children, including within the family; (c) Establish mechanisms to effectively enforce this ban in all Catholic schools… (d) Make use of its authority to promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing, and to ensure that an interpretation of Scripture as not condoning corporal punishment is reflected in Church teaching…

          The UN pleads to “Immediately remove all known and suspected child abusers from assignment and refer the matter to the relevant law enforcement authorities for investigation and prosecution purposes”

          I hope that it’ll also turn its critical eye towards other religions. That is my point.

          We, through the organ of the UN, aren’t criticizing religion. We’re complaining to a member state that is being criminally delinquent. This report isn’t long at 16 pages and is worth a read I reckon. Especially if you remain a supporter of hitting kids, as most Aussies and ‘mericans stubbornly do.

          I’m hoping for the opposite: that other religions would face the same amount of (well-earned) criticism that Christianity receives.

          Numerous current threads exist where you could have expressed your anxiety over Islam. Your Vaticanesque attempt to derail this thread seemed too obvious to ignore.

          bluebird #34,
          I share your feelings. The UN mentions the continuing impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators. They point out that whistleblowing nuns and priests have been vilified and severely punished.

  15. I guess it’s too much to ask that the U.N. will release a similar report criticising the Muslim world for its teachings on homosexuality and gender equality. If that happened, the OIC would probably throw a fit so big it would be seen from space.

  16. Why are people still defending the church? How much more proof do you need that they don’t care about you? All they ultimately care about is the power and status of the church. These men raped children over and over again. The church all the way to the top knew about it. We have documents and testimony to prove it. What did they do about it? Move these men around and gave them access to more children! The scale of the cover up is unreal. Honestly, if this was ANY other organisation these men and their enablers would have been in jail long ago and they would have lost all of their business and patrons. Why, why do the church keep getting a pass on this?

    I knew Francis was a political ploy to try and get people to like the Church again – and it seemed to be working. But everything he says means nothing because when it comes down to it he still refused to hand over the documents necessary to convict child rapists.

    I wish it was different but the RCC is a despicable organisation still stuck in the Middle Ages. If they could still torture heretics and burn witches they probably would. The arrogance and contempt they show their followers just makes me so angry. And their Bishops have the nerve to speak out about gay men adopting children! I tried to watch the hearings but every time they opened their mouths out came platitudes about how the church cares about the welfare of children and how sorry they are. You CARE? You’re contrite? Prove it – hand over your records to the police, stop doing deals with governments to evade prosecution, stop hiding known child rapists – they should be in a law court, stop trying to BUY your way out of this.

    Well done the UN for finally standing up to them. Is it too much to hope that people will finally wake up and see this monstrosity for what it is. I know there are good people in the organisation, but collectively the people of the world just need to stop giving the church respect and patronage.

  17. the United Nations has no right to weigh in on church teachings

    but if church teachings, so-called, are homophobic and misogynistic, in other words, promoting an abuse of human rights, then the UN has every right to “weigh in”

  18. In reply to #31 by Len Walsh:

    In reply to #26 by Aztek:

    I guess it’s too much to ask that the U.N. will release a similar report criticising the Muslim world for its teachings on homosexuality and gender equality…

    Aztec, would you allow criticism of this “despicable” behaviour by your Pope’s cult if the UN would first encour…

    and

    My post was a response to Aztek’s diversion into “Muslims are bad too”. Divert divert….

    Aztek’s tactics are those of the Vatican.

    Wow. If I was a person who reacted emotionally to arguments, I would probably feel very hurt for being accused of being a troll for the Vatican. Luckily I’m very unemotional. I can assure you that as an explicit atheist, implicit agnostic, anti-theist, secularist, humanist, rationalist, materialist, free-thinker, occasional apatheist, occasional ignostic, and overall scientifically minded person, a supporter of the Vatican is the last thing I am.

    I admit that there are cases where people try to muddle a discussion by introducing issues that are unrelated to the topic at hand. But that is surely not my intention. I am not suggesting that the U.N. refrains from criticising the Vatican until they do the same for other religions, or that the U.N’s criticism does not matter because, as you said, “Muslims are bad too”. I applaud the U.N. for it’s stance, but I hope that it’ll also turn its critical eye towards other religions. That is my point.

    I’m very well aware that many Christians in Western countries like to play the “why are you always criticism us, what about the Muslims?” card. They are hoping that Christianity would be criticised as little as they feel Islam is. But I’m hoping for the opposite: that other religions would face the same amount of (well-earned) criticism that Christianity receives.

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