UN Committee Against Torture Issues Report

Holy See Focuses on ‘Five Positive Conclusions’ of Committee’s Findings

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The Committee for the Convention Against Torture (CAT) has released an advance unedited version of its Concluding Observations on the Initial Report of the Holy See.

The report is based on hearings earlier this month when Holy See officials appeared before the committee’s panel in Geneva.

In a statement released today, the Holy See noted “five positive conclusions” in the report. It said the observations recognise that the Holy See has made many “serious and substantial reforms on its procedures that further advance the principles and objectives of the CAT”.

The Vatican further noted that the concluding observations “acknowledge extensively the good faith efforts of the Holy See to comply with and advance the CAT, to institute reforms to prevent sexual abuse, and to compensate and facilitate the care and healing of the victims of sexual abuse.”

The report states that the committee “did not find the Holy See in violation of the CAT, and acknowledges that the Holy See and Catholic dioceses and religious orders have instituted important efforts to prevent sexual abuse,” the Vatican said.

It also highlighted that the committee “appreciates the open and constructive dialogue with the high-level delegation of the Holy See and notes that many Catholic dioceses and religious orders have provided financial settlements to victims of sexual abuse.

“Finally, the Conclusions do not assert that the Church’s efforts to protect the unborn are a form of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under the CAT, thus safeguarding the fundamental human right of freedom of religion and opinion and the protection and promotion of human life”, the Vatican said.

Speaking to Vatican Radio Friday, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, said the committee recognized “the great work done” by the Church in dealing with clerical sex abuse.

He said the commission made a note that 848 priests have been reduced to the lay state and another 2,500 underwent severe penalties. This shows that a “systematic house-cleaning” is taking place in the Church, he said. 


Full text of the CAT report can be downloaded here

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