UN Committee Requests Changes in Catholic Moral Teaching


February 6, 2014 – CONTACT: Adam Cassandra

540-622-5230 – acassandra@hli.org

FRONT ROYAL, Virginia –The “Concluding Observations” on the report of the Holy See released Wednesday by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child are a flagrant and egregious attack on the religious freedom of the Catholic Church, her right and obligation to uphold the dignity of the human person and her estimated 1.2 billion members around the world, according to Human Life International President Father Shenan Boquet.

“The audacity of the people who wrote this report is simply amazing in dictating to the Catholic Church what her moral teachings should be in order to advance false and dangerous notions of ‘tolerance’ and ‘rights’ so often pushed by those with an anti-life, anti-family agenda,” said Fr. Boquet. “While these are only the thoughts of a few members of one UN committee, we should take seriously any document coming from the United Nations telling a billion people worldwide that their deeply held moral beliefs are inappropriate and need to change.”

“They are using the priest abuse issue to delegitimize the moral teachings of the Church and attack her freedom and right to exercise those beliefs around the world,” he said.

The UN committee’s comments make several requests of the Holy See to amend Canon Law, the law of the Catholic Church, including Canon 1398 calling for latae sententiae excommunication for those who procure an abortion. The report also criticizes the Church’s moral teachings on abortion, contraception and homosexuality.

The UN committee also requests that the Holy See identify in Canon Law “circumstances under which access to abortion services can be permitted,” an impossible task considering the Church’s teaching on the dignity and sacredness of human life from conception until natural death.

“In addition to their attack on the Church’s religious freedom, it’s quite alarming that a UN committee that exists to protect ‘the rights of the child’ would make a statement so supportive of killing children through abortion, really a criminal act against humanity, that it actually asks one of the world’s major religions to change its moral teaching in order to make it happen,” Fr. Boquet said.

The report also makes an unjust and unsubstantiated charge that the Church’s teachings on homosexual behavior “contribute to the social stigmatization of and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adolescents and children raised by same sex couples.”

“This is a very serious charge, made very casually and without evidence,” said Fr. Boquet. “It is the type of calumny usually only seen in the most extreme ideological attacks directed at the Catholic Church, which is why it is so disappointing for an official agency of the United Nations to legitimize this slander by including it in an official document. Indeed, could one not also accuse the United Nations of encouraging violence against Catholics on exactly the same grounds, especially since the accuser does not need to provide evidence of actual incitement to violence in making the charge?”

“The Catholic Church and Catholics around the world deserve a correction of the deeply and thoroughly flawed Concluding Observations document which attacks the freedom of Catholics to express our faith without persecution,” said Fr. Boquet. “This type of language inciting hatred and violence towards Catholics cannot be allowed to stand.”

About HLI: Human Life International: For the Glory of God and defense of Life, Faith and Family. Founded in 1981, HLI is the world’s largest international pro-life and pro-family organization, with affiliates and associates in over 100 countries on six continents. www.hli.org  


13 thoughts on “UN Committee Requests Changes in Catholic Moral Teaching

  1. Pro-life Catholic radio and other media need to reach Catholics who won’t learn of this from the pulpit. I recently heard a priest diminishing marriage by saying it was not important to early Christians, offering as proof, that St. Paul stated “I would prefer you did not marry”. He ignored St. Peter and the fact of his marriage. This priest spoke in such a way that no one could interrupt. I see small Christian communities as presenting greater opportunities for education and discussion about Church teachings. If you agree, put it on a postcard and send it to our Holy Father Francis

      1. You lit a candle, you planted a tree. Did you also go through all the channels? It is the local church, that is charged with (commissioned), to redress wrongs. The Church is doing much to make up for what was lacking in recent history. God Bless

  2. you have not mentioned the very serious charge made by the U.N. re the clerical sexual abuse of children which they say the Church has not addressed properly yet. The U.N. accused the church authorities of sheltering paedophile priests and bishops and concealing their crime by switching the paedophiles from one diocese to another or from one country to another and even to other continents, without reporting the paedophile clerics to the police. The U.N. has asked the Pope to order the handing over of files of paedophile priests so that the police can examine the truth of what happened to the victims. It must be mentioned that many of the Holy Orders involved have refused to pay compensation to the victims, many of whom committed suicide or became drug addicts as they were unable to have relationships after the sexual abuse. The U.N also condemned the Code of silence used by the church to conceal the paedophiles. The only way to address this issue is to hand over the files to the police and stop denying abuse that happened and make restitution to the victims, The Pope has to address this issue in simple unambiguous language to restore some credibility to the Catholic Church; so far the Church has merely said it is sorry in general terms but this is not justice.

    1. The report ignores the massive efforts already enforced to punish clergy caught in these scandals and neither do they recognize the mass number of defrockings and resignations done by the Church authority in relation to this. Instead, they base their report on controversies which occurred during the 1980s. While at the same time, using this as a ruse to attack the moral teachings of the Church on abortion, infanticide and gay marriage.

      The Church’s position on it does not change. The Church has already opposed it in the past when it worked against the tendency to choose children through abortion during Roman times, opposed the sodomy and pederasty of the Greeks and the female infanticide committed by the Vikings of whom the Church Christianized and gave Christian mores.

      This UN attempt to revive these discredited pagan practices and mask it as good and moral is horrible. The Church should stay vigilant and militant against these primordial reversions.

      1. Rene, the Church has not engaged in anything like a “massive effort” to punish clergy. Quite the contrary, as exemplified by the “Dallas Charter” which is a mechanism completely controlled by the USCCB and which is both understaffed and not open to regular input from laity but only from staff who work in the local diocese. The UN committee of child care experts has recommended precisely the opposite – that the church receive input from the laity and also from local child care experts. Unfortunately, the abuses and the coverup continue now, even under Pope Francis I. The Vatican’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic recently was charged with sexual predation and was promptly spirited back to the Vatican, which now, 2014, refused to extradite him to the DR. It is this sort of shameful stubbornness which the UN must take note of, in making its recommendations.

      2. Rene,you speak of the 1980s, 30 years ago; in my country we are still finding sexual clerical abuse scandals in 2014 and we are advised by one of our foremost arch bishops that more scandals will continue to be found. If u disagree with the U.N. findings u should write to them; I merely write about the U.N.report, which accuses the church of a massive cover up of clerical sexual abuse and a refusal to co-operate with the police and nobody can deny this.

  3. First of all in the discussion of the priest scandal we must identify that the investigative reports showed the priests were not pedophiles because they were not assaulting Pre-pubescent boys and girls. They were engaging in sex acts with POST-pubescent MALES not females. Therefore this would be considered homosexuality!!! If they were really pedophiles, would they not be assaulting roughly equal numbers of PRE-pubescent males and females? We need to get our definitions correct here! The sad part is that even if all the documents were handed over to the UN they would most likely not deal with the TRUTH! Would they tell the world that what really caused the scandal was an invasion of the priesthood by homosexuals? I think not! The Church will hold firm in its teaching forever just as it has done since the begininning of time. God is the same yesterday, as He is today and will be as tomorrow. How arrogant the UN (and the world for that matter) to think they can change what God preordained through the Church! But the UN is no stranger to arrogance!!!

    1. Kim u are merely playing games with words with this most serious charge of the rape of kids both boys and girls by priests etc U say ” post pre-pubescent males” who were boys, well for the record some girls were also sexually abused, so please with respect to the victims please stop the deliberate creation of confusion and acknowledge the proven truth in legal courts of civil law.without the cover of canon “law” which was used by the church to conceal the truth and allow the paedophiles continue their evil deeds indefinitely and allow many victims to commit suicide and live a life of torment as a result of the trauma they suffered.

  4. The Holy See is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and has agreed to adopt the procedures that the Convention has propounded in the interests of protecting children worldwide. An important principle of the Convention is non-discrimination of children and also their protection against predatory adults. Unfortunately, the Vatican has failed to to protect children from abusive priests and has even encouraged and implemented efforts to hide by transfer, priests who were discovered to be predators.Non-discrimination of children entails the acceptance of children regardless of the composition of their families, i.e., two fathers, two mothers, divorced parents. If the Vatican did not intend to follow fundamental international norms for the protection of children, it ought not have signed the treaty (Convention) and bound itself to observe it. It is too late to invoke Canon Law as the primary authority in these matters, since international treaty obligations take precedence over internal policies and procedures – especially when the internal rules have been used to justify various forms of discrimination and to protect sexual predators.

    1. The Holy See signed the Convention, which is principle-based, and is bereft of the malicious errors and unjust charges of the observations referred to above. Many in the Church failed to protect children, to the Church’s shame and to the anger of many inside and outside the Church. Still, if truth and charity are our guides, the Church deserves a lot of credit for the institutional changes it has made, and for the stark decrease in reported incidents. Can you name another institution – let’s start with teachers’ unions, or the UN’s own “peacekeepers”, whose assaults on women and children are legion – that has been as thoroughly criticized and has seen such a dramatic decrease in incidents?

      Is this enough? Well, if there is a single child harmed, it’s still one too many, as there is no acceptable level of abuse except the complete absence thereof. But I’ll believe this is about protecting children and not attacking the Church when I see the same consistent and hyper-critical attitude directed at other institutions whose problems are much bigger and more widespread, and which have not diminished to the degree that the Catholic Church’s have. And I’ll believe your concern with tolerance and acceptance is genuine when I see you defend the Church’s right to hold and teach what she has held and taught for centuries. Until then, please do refrain from condemning others’ “discrimination” unless you’re prepared to admit and abandon your own.

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