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The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child has issued a report demanding that the Catholic church take immediate steps to deal with the long standing problem of clerical abuse of children and the reluctance of the church hierarchy to proactively deal withe matter.
A United Nations human rights committee has made an unprecedented demand that the Vatican "immediately remove" all clergy accused of child abuse and turn them over to civil authorities.
In its response to the report, the Vatican accused the U.N. of interfering with church teachings on the dignity of human person and in the exercise of religious freedom.
Reading that statement gives me a serious case of mental whiplash. The Vatican has long used accusations of anti-Catholicism as an effort to deflect criticism of its general failure to deal with pedophile priest. This really reflects just how seriously blind and bankrupt it is in its institutional policies. The vast number of suits by victims of the abuse have also created a wave of financial bankruptcies for the church.
Here is an institution that thinks that freedom protects it form outside interference in its internal affairs. Yet it is an institution that has an active policy of using its influence and finances to block the rights of women and LGBT folk.
The Catholic hierarchy is one of the leading players in the ongoing war on women. Their internal policy is to relegate them to a position of subservience and deny them ordination to clerical orders. They require celibacy of the men who do enter orders. This general posture has created a shortage of people interested in becoming priest and made it an attractive vocation for some people whose motives are less than altruistic.
Concurrently the church actively attempts to deny all women, not just their members, access to reproductive rights and appropriate health care. This is clearly an effort to impose their religious views on everybody else. That is a direct contradiction of the freedom that they try to claim for themselves.
The new pope turns out to be media savvy. He's come up with some attractive platitudes about economic conditions in an effort to deflect criticism of church doctrine and practice. The report from the UN makes it clear that the world has lost patience with the foot dragging and expects to see some real change. It is going to take more than just appointing another committee.
Originally posted to Richard Lyon on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 10:16 AM PST.