US Catholic Leaders Criticize UN Over-Reach

united nationsA United Nations report on sexual abuse in the Church that included demands for revised teachings on matters of sexual morality has prompted a firestorm of criticism from U.S. leaders.

CNA/EWTN News is reporting that a recently issued report by the UN Commission on the Rights of the Child that attempts to impose a secular ideology on the Church is an appalling overreach that violates the institution’s own commitment to religious freedom as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The committee’s report,  which recommends that the Vatican enforce rules for reporting abuse to police and support laws that allow victims to report crimes even after the statute of limitations has expired, also urges the Vatican to amend its canon law to allow abortion in certain circumstances. In addition, it urges the Holy See to ensure that all children receive sex education, including access to information about contraception, and to use its moral authority to condemn discrimination against homosexual children or children raised by same-sex couples.

The Vatican responded by expressing regret that the committee is attempting to interfere with Catholic Church teaching on the dignity of the human person and in the exercise of religious freedom.

Catholic Senator Marco Rubio (R.-Fla.) was more vocal. He said the committee’s report “has overreached in its efforts to discredit the Catholic Church’s core teachings” by making political statements “about Catholic doctrine on abortion, contraception, and marriage.”

He also noted that the U.N.’s human rights commission that issued the report includes “serial abusers and murderers of men, women, and children as members,” which refers to committee members who represent North Korea, Syria and Iran.

Sr. Mary Ann Walsh, director of media relations for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told CNA that while the United Nations committee “is correct to voice concern over sexual abuse,” its claims would have more credibility “if it also worked to protect the most basic right of a child: the right to live.”

She believes that the report’s arguments were weakened by including objections to Catholic teaching on same-sex marriage, abortion and contraception.

Asking the Church to change its doctrine is an infringement on religious freedom and “the Church’s right to determine its own teachings,” she said.

“Defense of religious freedom is no small matter in a world where people, including children, get murdered for simply going to church,” she added, referring to the more than 80 Christians – including children – who were killed at a church in Pakistan in September 2013.

“When the U.N. committee strays into the culture wars to promote abortion, contraceptives and gay marriage, it undermines its noble cause and trades concern for children to concern for organizations with other agendas.”

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