Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, today made several clarifications regarding the reaction of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s report.
Fr. Lombardi’s statement was published today on Vatican Radio.
Among the list of recommendations, the UN committee strongly reproached the Vatican for its handling of abuse cases, while not taking many of the implementations to the Convention that the Holy See observed into consideration. It also recommended that the Church change its stance on homosexuality and abortion.
Fr. Lombardi made clear that while the Holy See has reservations about the report, it in no way indicates a confrontation between the UN and the Vatican, as some media reports suggested.
“The United Nations is a reality that is very important to humanity today,” he wrote.
“The Holy See has always provided strong moral support to the United Nations as a meeting place among all the nations, to foster peace in the world and the growth of the community of peoples in harmony, mutual respect and mutual enrichment. Countless documents and addresses of the Holy See at [the UN’s] highest levels and the intense participation of the Holy See’s representatives in the activities of many UN bodies attest to this.”
While highlighting the positive relationship that has been shared between the Holy See and the Vatican, the director of the Holy See Press Office made clear that the Vatican has adhered to the international conventions it considers most important, particularly, the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Holy See, he noted, were among the first in the world to adhere to that Convention.
However, the committee’s recent report, he said, “has aroused extensive reaction and response.”
Fr. Lombardi stated that while the Church has and continues to implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child through extensive dialogue with the proper committees, the latest recommendations “appear to present grave limitations.”
The recommendations “have not taken adequate account of the responses, both written and oral, given by the representatives of the Holy See,” he wrote. “Those who have read and heard these answers do not find proportionate reflections of them in the document of the committee, so as to suggest that it was practically already written, or at least already in large part blocked out before the hearing.”
Fr. Lombardi also called the UN committee’s lack of understanding of the nature of the Holy See, a “serious” matter.
“[Are we dealing with] an inability to understand, or an unwillingness to understand? In either case, one is entitled to amazement,” Fr. Lombardi wrote.
He said a more serious matter was the committee’s interference in moral and doctrinal positions of the Church regarding contraception, abortion and human sexuality. Those interferences, he said, were made in light of “the committee’s own ideological vision of sexuality itself.”
Fr. Lombardi concluded his statement, saying the UN “carries the brunt of the negative consequences in public opinion, for the actions of a committee that calls itself [by the UN name].”
“Let us try to find the correct plan of commitment for the good of the children – even through the instrument of the Convention. The Holy See will not allow its careful and reasoned responses to be lacking,” he wrote.