Catholic Churches thoughts on these two topics

Hello, I am doing Mini-model UN, which is where middle school people come and represent nations. I am representing the Vatican City State.

What is the Churches opinion on “The Question over Palestine” and “Trafficking in women and girls?” Thank you very much!!

Firstly, the Vatican City State is a small parcel of land in the centre of Rome which is under the sovereignty of the Holy Father. Apart from membership of a few technical cooperation groups, e.g. in the field of telecommunications, it does not have diplomatic relations with any country or significant international body. The Holy See – the office of the Pope; the Bishop of Rome – is the Church’s diplomatic identity. This has been the case for hundreds of years, including times (e.g. 1871-1929) when the Pope did not have control of any sovereign territory to call his own. The Church’s diplomatic identity is neither dependant upon, nor proportional to, those few acres on the west bank of the Tiber. The Holy See is not a member of the UN; it is a Permanent Observer. Essentially it has all the rights that other states have except the right to vote. This is by choice.

Various Catholic leaders, including Benedict XVI, have spoken in favour of the “two state solution”, where Israel and Palestine would each be independent countries. The Christian Holy Sites around Israel (those particularly connected with Jesus’ ministry, where Catholic basilicas have usually been built) are of special concern – ideally, the Holy See would like these to be under the extraterritorial sovereignty of the Holy See. Israel is not keen on this, though some Palestinian factions would be OK with it for those sites that would eventually come under their jurisdiction.

The Holy See’s main policy in this area, however, is always to encourage peace, reconciliation, non-violence, forgiveness, justice, and some more peace.

In answer to your specific issues, I suspect the Vatican would speak in favor of the Palestinian right to statehood, and it would obviously oppose strongly human trafficking.

The Vatican tends to be a bit more pro-Palestine than most Americans. This in part reflects a European perspective, but it also reflects the fact that there are many Palestinian Catholics (though fewer and fewer as the years have gone by). There is also some mild animosity of the Vatican towards Israel over the latter’s lack of cooperation on the care and protection of holy sites, freedom of Christians to travel to such holy sites, etc. Israel, meanwhile, is somewhat distrustful of the Vatican due to 1) Its friendly relations with Palestinian leaders, 2) Its history of speaking out against some Israel human rights issues, 3) Questions over its actions during World War II, which are only exacerbated by Pope Benedict’s past in the Hitler Youth and the Church’s pursuit of the canonization of Pius XII.

Having said all that, the divisions between Israel and the Holy See should not be overstated. Both Benedict and John Paul made strong efforts at rapproachment with the Jewish community and Israel, though Benedict’s poor communications strategy has sometimes caused these efforts to stumble. Both states are cautious voices in favor of human rights and democracy in the Middle East and elsewhere. Both probably agree on the importance of religion in public life.

On the second issue, the Vatican will find itself in a slightly tricky situation in that many of its strongest allies on this issue will be liberal states that tend toward atheism, strongly support abortion and contraception, and take a very strong view of women’s rights. These states are likely to see religion as one of the causes of lack of respect for women.

Meanwhile, I don’t think any states will be outright opposed to condemning human trafficking. But states who want to water down any resolution about human trafficking are likely to include conservative Muslim states who fear the resolution may lead to intrusive rules and regulations that may cast a bad light on their country. These are some of the Vatican’s strongest allies in favor of the role of religion in public life, and against abortion.

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