VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican formally criticized a U.N. committee’s “grave misunderstanding” of state sovereignty and reiterated its concerns over “controversial new expressions” that threaten the unborn and religious freedom.
By insisting the Holy See should enforce the compliance of Catholics all over the world with international treaties signed by the Vatican, the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child “offers a controversial new approach to ‘jurisdiction,’ which clearly contradicts the general understanding of this concept of international law.”
“The Holy See, in accordance with the rules of international law, is aware that attempting to implement the C.R.C. (Convention on the Rights of the Child) in the territory of other states could constitute a violation of the principle of noninterference in the internal affairs of states,” the Vatican said in a formal written response to the U.N. committee.
The Vatican published its official response to the U.N.’s committee on children’s rights Sept. 26 on its website.
On Feb. 5, the U.N. committee released its “concluding observations” and concerns as part of its ongoing process of monitoring states parties’ adherence to the treaty; the Vatican ratified the children’s rights treaty in 1990, making it one of the first countries to do so.
The six-page response reiterated the same concerns Vatican representatives expressed during an all-day testimony Jan. 16 before committee members in Geneva and concerns Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, articulated Feb. 7 after the committee published its observations.
One of the committee’s major criticisms was that the Holy See and the pope, as head of the church, can and should order Catholic dioceses and religious orders around the world to implement all the policies of the U.N. Convention of the Rights of the Child, which includes provisions against the sexual abuse of minors.
The Vatican always has insisted that church law requires bishops and religious superiors to obey local laws on reporting suspected crimes.
In its Sept. 26 comments, the Vatican wrote that the obligations stipulated in the U.N. conventions it signs apply only to the 108-acre territory of Vatican City State, Vatican citizens and “where appropriate, the diplomatic personnel of the Holy See or its officials residing outside the territory of Vatican City State.”
In fact, the Vatican put a laicized papal ambassador, former Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, under house arrest Sept. 23 as he awaits a criminal trial for the sexual abuse of minors while serving as nuncio in the Dominican Republic.
In its written comments to the U.N. committee, the Vatican said, “The Holy See does not ratify a treaty on behalf of every Catholic in the world, and therefore, does not have obligations to ‘implement’ the convention within the territories of other states parties on behalf of Catholics,” who are and should be subject to the national laws of the countries they find themselves in.
“Attempting to implement the C.R.C. in the territory of other states could constitute a violation of the principle of noninterference in the internal affairs of states,” it said.
The Vatican said all states parties should be concerned with “the grave implications of this erroneous approach” by the committee, which is suggesting parties must be committed to implementing the treaty through all its individuals and institutions living and operating around the world.
Other concerns the Vatican had with the committee’s “concluding observations,” include “controversial new expressions not contained in the convention and related principles, which contradict the ordinary meaning of the words in the text.”
It said it is “completely unacceptable” that the committee advocate for abortion when the convention’s original language says children require legal protection “before as well as after birth,” have a right to life and should receive “prenatal and postnatal health care.”
The Vatican disagreed with the committee’s observations that “subjective lifestyle choices and attractions” should be promoted as “a matter of ‘rights.'”
By insisting the church change its teachings, reinterpret Scripture and amend canonical laws to reflect current trends, the committee is infringing on “matters protected by the right to freedom of religion,” the Vatican said.
Saying the church’s position on certain issues justifies discrimination is applying the important principle of nondiscrimination “in an unprincipled way, namely as a sword against religious freedom,” it said.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103