Vatican officials are not happy with the United Nations after a UN committee issued a blistering report demanding that it change its position on abortion.
The Vatican says the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child overstepped its mandate in its pro-abortion attack on the Catholic Church. The report published this week by the panel attacked the Catholic Church’s teachings on abortion under the guise of a critique of the Church’s handling of child sex abuse cases.
The UN report, among similar things, recommends that the Catholic Church identify “circumstances under which access to abortion services can be permitted” (section 55) and “overcome[s] all the barriers and taboos surrounding adolescent sexuality that hinder their access to sexual and reproductive information, including on family planning and contraceptives” (section 57a).
Today, in a statement released by the Vatican, Fr. Federico Lombardi criticized the U.N. Child Protection Committee.
“Finally, and this is perhaps the most serious observation: the Committee’s comments in several directions seem to go beyond its powers and to interfere in the very moral and doctrinal positions of the Catholic Church,” the Vatican spokesman observed in his Feb. 7 statement.
Fr. Lombardi acknowledged that the publication of the committee’s findings “has aroused extensive reaction and response.”
He then highlighted that the U.N. group goes “beyond its power” in asking the Church to change its doctrine on contraception, abortion, education in families, and the vision of human sexuality, “in light of (the Committee’s) own ideological vision of sexuality itself.”
It is for this reason, the spokesman explained, that the Vatican’s Wednesday’s communique on the report spoke of “an attempt to interfere in the teaching of the Catholic Church on the dignity of the human person and in the exercise of religious freedom.”
While the document has created tension, Fr. Lombardi also emphasized that “it is not appropriate” to imply that there is a confrontation “between the U.N. and the Vatican,” as some have reported.
A top British pro-life group exposed the UN report pressuring the Catholic Church to change its pro-life stance.
John Smeaton, SPUC’s chief executive, commented: “The committee has overstepped its mandate by making demands well beyond the scope of the actual wording of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. There is nothing in the Convention which requires the Catholic Church or any other body to facilitate abortion…”
“There is a great deal of hypocrisy in the committee’s report. Under the cover of seeking to protect children against sexual abuse, the report promotes damage to children – the destruction of unborn children through abortion and the destruction of born children’s innocence through the promotion of contraception…,” Smeaton added.
The British pro-life advocate concluded: “The Holy See’s representatives made clear to the committee last month, Catholic leaders are facing up to the shocking child abuse scandals within the Church. Pro-life and pro-family groups throughout the world must – like SPUC – come to the UN to help the Holy See in its vital work of protecting unborn children and the marriage-based family. This work is under constant attack by the Catholic Church’s enemies, as manifested in the committee’s report today.”