“I am sure the Holy See will fulfill its international obligations and it will take into due account, the observations, the comments and suggestions in furthering its commitments under the convention of the rights of the child.”
This was the sentiment expressed by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva, in an interview with Vatican Radio. Archbishop Tomasi was speaking about his presentation of a report made today to the Committee on the Convention of the Rights of the Child at the UN in Geneva.
Aside from the Holy See, the reports of several countries were presented to the committee, including Russia, Germany, Portugal, Congo and Yemen. Today’s session, Archbishop Tomasi noted, is “an important occasion to reaffirm the value and the procedures of the convention and to accept any good advice that is given that can be helpful in the protection of children.”
The Archbishop acknowledged, however, that despite the presentations of other countries, many are focusing on the Holy See’s presentation given the child abuse scandals that have arisen in the past years. During the meeting of the Council of Cardinals, Pope Francis approved the establishment of a Commission for the protection of children and the pastoral care of abuse victims.
Though criticism has been raised against the Holy See, particularly that of covering up crimes, Archbishop Tomasi said that the Holy See’s policy recognizes that all crimes, especially those involving children, must be addressed forcefully.
“The policy and good sense of the Holy See is to encourage the prosecution of any crime, including crimes, and especially crimes, against children,” he said. “So my sense is that some of these accusations or criticism derive from a lack of knowledge of the activity, the measures taken by the Holy See in the last several years and also by the local churches and by the attitude and the directives given by the Holy See that are for transparency and protection in any case of, as a priority, of all children.”
Archbishop Tomasi expressed his assurance that the Holy See will fulfill its international obligations as well as to take the observations and comments of the committee “into due account.”
The commission established by Pope Francis, he said, will study the input and observations given by the committee.
“So the task ahead is to strengthen the good steps and the good measures that have already been taken and to continue to maintain as a priority the protection of children,” Archbishop Tomasi concluded.
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On ZENIT’s web page:
For the full text of Archbishop Tomasi’s address to the UN Committee, go to: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/archbishop-silvano-tomasi-s-address-to-un-committee-on-the-convention-of-the-rights-of-the-child