UN names church for what it is: a rogue state
By Brenda O'Connor
09 FEBRUARY 2014
WE CAN tend to outrage fatigue when it comes to reports about the crimes committed within the Catholic Church in recent years. So when the UN Committee on the Rights of Children reported last week on its ongoing engagement with the Catholic Church regarding the rights of children within the Vatican and the Holy See, many people will have been tempted to ignore it.
After all, there wasn't much new in it. The church has a history of trafficking babies, of discriminating against children based on their sexuality or that of their parents, and of allowing children to be abused, of protecting their abusers from the law, of moving abusers around –allowing them to abuse again, and when it came to abuse, of "consistently placing the preservation of the church and the protection of the perpetrators above children's best interests". The church has even protected priests from their own children, denying children the right to know the identity of their fathers and "only agreeing payments from the church until the child is financially independent only if they [the mothers] sign a confidentiality agreement not to disclose any information".
We knew all that stuff already, didn't we?
Except it is a little different this time. Because previously our engagement with the church has tended to stay within the family. There has been an emotional attachment that has clouded the issue for us. Because there is always a sense, in this country, that everyone was complicit in all this because, after all, we are, or were, the church.
And because the church was so intermingled with the State here, and with the provision of health, education and welfare, the crimes themselves became intermingled with social norms of the time and so on.
So the Magdalene laundries scandal was viewed not just as a church scandal but as all of our shame. In short, in Ireland, the blame has tended to be spread.
That's why the latest UN report is important, because it takes all that baggage out of it and treats the church as what it is – a de facto state, geographically dispersed throughout the world certainly, but a metaphysical and legal entity, and therefore, "a sovereign subject of international law having an original non derived legal personality independent of any territorial authority of jurisdiction."
While some will argue about the Vatican's claim to statehood, the UN uses the church's claim to independent statehood against it. The UN is basically treating the Holy See as a state, subject to the same duties and responsibilities as other states. And what the UN finds is a rogue state.
Read more here.
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