U.N. Committee to Vatican: Change Church Teaching
Catholic experts on how the U.N. operates say this week’s controversial report demonstrates the out-of-control radicalism of the committees that monitor United Nations treaties.
by BRIAN FRAGA 02/08/2014 Comment
UNITED NATIONS — A U.N. committee’s report that said the Holy See should change its moral teachings in order to comply with an international treaty on children’s rights is the latest example in a 20-year history of U.N. bureaucrats trying to coerce member states into accepting secularist values, according to several Catholic observers of the international body.
“This was a ‘gift from God,’ and the reason is because it points out to a huge audience the radicalism of the United Nations’ treaty monitoring bodies, who have been doing things like this for years,” said Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), a non-governmental organization that monitors the United Nations.
Since 1994, when the Holy See successfully fought back efforts to declare abortion an international human right during a U.N. conference in Cairo, abortion advocates and their allies, according to a C-FAM white paper, have looked to further their agenda by relying upon U.N. committees, known as treaty bodies, to interpret international human-rights treaties to cover topics not mentioned in the actual treaties, such as wider access to birth control, permissive abortion laws and the legalization of same-sex “marriages.”
“These treaty bodies have been sort of inclined to aggrandize for their own power, and they’ve done it by controlling the process by which countries report on their implementation of these treaties,” said Stefano Gennarini, the director of C-FAM’s Center for Legal Studies.
“What the treaty bodies have done is adopt practices that have given them more and more control over the dialogue, and they have started making observations and recommendations that are always more and more intrusive. The recommendations get more and more extravagant. Really, what’s happening is these treaty bodies are running amok and overstepping their mandate,” Gennarini told the Register.
For example, recommendations from the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women — the treaty body that monitors nations’ implementation of the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women — resulted in Colombia’s Supreme Court decision in 2005 to legalize abortion in some circumstances, according to C-FAM.
The Colombian high court pointed to the treaty body’s nonbinding “concluding observations” as an established legal precedent to liberalize the country’s abortion laws.
Ruse told the Register that treaty bodies’ nonbinding resolutions were also cited by parliament members to legalize same-sex “marriage” in Spain.
“Law professors and human-rights lawyers will take these nonbinding observations to say there is a new (legal) norm that governments must adhere to,” Ruse said.
The latest apparent intrusion into a member state’s affairs is a report, released Feb. 5, from the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, an 18-member treaty body designated with monitoring the implementation of the Convention of the Rights of the Child.
In its report, the U.N. committee criticized the Holy See for its handling of the international clergy sex-abuse crisis. The committee said it was “gravely concerned” that the Holy See did not take “necessary measures” to address the crisis and protect children. The committee also accused the Holy See of adopting policies and practices that led to the continuation of clergy sex abuse and shielding predator-priests.
Those criticisms followed a Jan. 16 public hearing in Geneva, where several members of the U.N. committee actually complimented the Catholic Church for the steps it had taken over the past decade to prevent sex abuse and protect children.
“The fact that the document did not capture the dialogue that took place last month in Geneva shows it was prepared ahead of time, and nothing changed after the dialogue,” Gennarini said. “That shows this was ideological, that whoever wanted to attack the Church in the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights prepared the report, and they were going to do it regardless of what the Holy See said in the dialogue.”
Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva, told Vatican Radio on Feb. 5 that the U.N. committee’s analysis “in some ways is not up to date,” because it did not take “into account some of the clear and precise explanations that were given to the committee in the encounter that the delegation of the Holy See had with the committee three or four weeks ago.”
The committee’s report even referenced the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland as an institution that forced girls “to work in slavery-like conditions” while being subject to “inhuman, cruel and degrading treatment” that included physical and sexual abuse. However, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights said a report sponsored by the Irish government found the laundries scandal to be false.
“The panel needs to get up to speed, assuming it has any real interest in this issue,” the Catholic League’s president, William Donohue, said in an online statement."
Read the rest there