On Torturing the Holy See Because of Its Teachings on Sexuality and Abortion

The Holy See is once again before a UN Committee, this time the Committee on the Convention Against Torture (CAT) and, once again, the Catholic Church is being rebuked for its beliefs about sexuality and abortion.

Given that the CAT defines torture as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person,” it’s ironic that so-called “civil society organizations,” i.e., non-government organizations (NGOs), have submitted reports arguing that the Holy See should be held accountable for its beliefs in the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.

In addition, the sexual abuse of children made its way into the CAT rebuke of the Holy See, just as it did in January with the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC).

As Breitbart News reported then, Dr. Anne Hendershott, Franciscan University Sociology Professor and Catholic scholar, wrote that the CRC used its report to “resurrect yet again the moral panic surrounding wildly exaggerated claims of clerical sexual abuse,” as well as unsubstantiated allegations.

The same NGOs submitted reports both to the CRC and the CAT: the clerical abuse survivors’ group SNAP, which has greatly exaggerated claims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in order to promote its leftist agenda; the Center for Reproductive Rights, which asserts that reproductive freedom, i.e. abortion and contraception, is a fundamental human right; the Global Initiative to End Corporal Punishment; and the Child’s Rights Network, which states on its website that religious institutions perpetuate sexual violence by their “lack of accountability, entrenched power structures and arcane institutions…”

Let’s take a look at SNAP for a moment, one of the organizations that are accusing the Holy See of “torture.”

As The Media Report has noted, SNAP’s true agenda was showing recently when it was discovered the organization did not call police or alert Church officials even though it was aware “for several weeks” about a shocking sex abuse allegation against a Chicago priest.

SNAP, whose president, Barbara Blaine, has claimed it is “reckless,” “selfish,” and “irresponsible” for Church officials to delay disclosing a child sex abuse report “even for one day,” decided the same rules don’t apply to their organization.

As Media Report noted:

Rather than acting according to its purported mission to protect children, the group instead held a press conference, strategically timed for a slow news day on the Monday after Easter. The conference was led by Blaine herself, who in the past has personally written a letter of support on behalf of a man arrested with over 100 images of kiddie porn on his computer…

Here we have Blaine not only not calling the police about an abuse allegation against a priest – and thereby "endangering children" by her own standards – but instead withholding information until she felt it was an opportune time to hold a press conference and generate some more free publicity for SNAP.

Having learned from the experience with the ideologues at the CRC in January, several Catholic organizations, including Catholic Voices USA, are giving oral evidence in Geneva at the CAT hearing.

Ashley McGuire, a member of Catholic Voices USA, told Breitbart News ahead of her presentation that the U.N. Committee would be teeing up for “another session of excoriating the Catholic Church.”

“It’s sad to see this committee being hijacked by ideological groups that oppose the Church and actually exploit victims of sex abuse and victims of torture,” McGuire said. “The committee is ignoring all the Catholic Church has done within the past 10 to 12 years, all the reforms that have made the Church the safest place to be.”

McGuire observed how “surreal” it is to be defending the Holy See’s current record on torture.

“The Church is the greatest advocate for children who are victims of poverty and violence, including the unborn,” she added.

In her remarks to the CAT, McGuire said:

…the last decade has seen the Church become the leading global institution with regards to protections for children, so much so that other governments and institutions like public schools, which suffer from rampant instances of child abuse, are modeling Church reforms like mandatory background checks and training for any employee that comes in contact with a child, mandatory reporting requirements to police and Church officials, and an annual audit on implementation of these programs, to name a few.

“The Catholic Church is no stranger to persecution and intolerance,” McGuire added. “But it is a shame to see NGOs attacking the Church at the UN, some trying to use this committee to advance an ideological agenda, so often because the Church will not change her moral positions.”

“Hostility to Christianity within the walls of the United Nations is especially sad given that its own charter and the universalist ideas about human rights that inform it would not exist without the contribution of Christianity,” she concluded.


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