On May 5-6, Vatican representatives will appear in Geneva, Switzerland, before the UN Committee on the Convention Against Torture (CAT) and will answer questions regarding sexual abuse crimes.
Vatican Spokesman Father Federico Lombardi explained Tuesday that the meetings are routine procedures for signatories of the 2002 convention.
By having signed the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Vatican has made a promise to file periodic reports about its laws and about what it is doing to combat torture, he noted.
The treaty was signed in the name of Vatican City State, not for the universal Church, as it has juridical characteristics that apply to a geographical nation-state.
Father Lombardi said that with UN committee members, Vatican representatives and other member states will review the periodic reports.
“It is not that the Holy See was convoked in a way outside the normal procedures,” said Father Lombardi.
He noted, “It is a standard procedure adhered to by all states party to the convention.”
The Holy See will make their presentation with the nations of Montenegro, Guinea, Cyprus, Lithuania, Sierra Leone, Thailand and Uruguay.</p>
The Holy See will also present its Initial Report on the Convention Against Torture to the relevant committee.
In January, the Vatican was called before the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which subsequently released a critical report of the Vatican’s handling of sex abuse in the Church. It caused controversy because in addition to critizing the Church’s handling of sexual abuse, it also called for changes to Church teaching on abortion, contraception and same-sex “marriage.”
In a statement responding to the observations released by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Holy See both reiterated its resolve to continue implementing child protection strategies, and its concern with the UN’s call to change Church doctrine.
The statement noted: “The Holy See does, however, regret to see in some points of the Concluding Observations an attempt to interfere with Catholic Church teaching on the dignity of human person and in the exercise of religious freedom.
“The Holy See reiterates its commitment to defending and protecting the rights of the child, in line with the principles promoted by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and according to the moral and religious values offered by Catholic doctrine.”