by Eric Egan
Various news outlets referred to the committee proceedings as a "grilling" of H.E. (His Eminence) Tomasi concerning the Catholic Church's progress with stemming sexual abuse of children by pedophile priests.
The purpose of the meeting was to ascertain how
compliant the Holy See has been with the UN Convention on the Rights
of the Child, of which the Holy See is a signatory.
The report focused
partly on the Church's well-publicized issues with
sex abuse of
minors by priests, but also dealt with subjects concerning
everything from contraception to the use of "baby boxes" by Catholic
These boxes, where a mother who isn't able to care for her child may anonymously leave the baby, go against article 7 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that a child has a right to know and be raised by the child's parents.
The UN sees abortion as an alternative to the baby boxes. In article 55 of the report,
It is safe to assume that the Committee knows this is
impossible for the Holy See to do without ceasing to be Catholic.
These issues are addressed in article 27 using the terms "boys" and "girls":
The report emphasizes the need for and lack of equality between
"girls and boys"; however, in article 57 (f) the report urges the
Holy See to educate boys and men "in particular" about "responsible
parenthood and sexual behavior."
In article 56 the committee urges the church to
change her stance on contraception; in article 57(a) the committee
strongly insinuates that the church allow and encourage premarital
sex among teens; and the church's teaching on homosexuality is taken
to task in article 25, among others.
The church also holds a different view from the committee on the role of parents, whom the church holds responsible for educating their children in the way the parents see fit.
In article 31,
There are myriad other "the-Committee-is-concerneds" throughout the report, including constructive criticism on the handling of sex abuse by priests.
These concerns are mostly with a view to change
church teaching, however.
Both Tomasi and Fr. Frederico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, issued statements decrying the report's apparent bias. Lombardi took the committee to task for a "lack of understanding of the specific nature of the Holy See" and both men insinuated that the report may have been written prior to the Holy See's presentation to the committee.
Lombardi remained diplomatic,
however, and chalked it up to "different visions" in the "vast world
of the UN." The committee issued a response which seemed to be a
mere diplomatic nicety for its brevity and evasive nature.
These scandals are repetitive occurrences, suggesting an endemic incapability of dealing with these issues on an organizational level. This colors the whole context of the committee's report on the Holy See and their criticisms of the Catholic Church's handling of sex abuse as odd and ironic.
giving advice on how an organization should deal with sex abuse of
minors feels a little like listening to a child molester pontificate
on the best way to run a daycare.