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Monday, February 10, 2014

Some misunderstandings

Another post about how wrong the UN was in its criticisms of the Vatican ... Is the Vatican Violating Children’s Rights?. I think the criticisms of the UN in this and other articles are built upon some unrecognized misunderstandings. Here's part of the post ...

[T]he [UN] committee also addressed subjects on which everyone does not agree. It suggested that the Vatican alter its positions on abortion, contraception, and homosexuality in order to meet its obligations under the Convention. For example, the committee stated that the prohibition of abortion “places obvious risks on the life and health of pregnant girls”and urged the Vatican to amend canon law to “identify circumstances under which access to abortion services can be permitted.” It expressed “serious concern” about the Vatican’s policy of “denying adolescents access to contraception.” The Vatican must put “adolescents’ best interests” ahead of other concerns, the committee said. And the committee expressed concern that the Holy See’s disapproval of homosexuality may lead to discrimination against LGBT children and the children of LGBT parents. It recommended that the Holy See amend canon law to recognize diverse family arrangements. ... [but] ... the recommendations obviously conflict with fundamental teachings of one of the world’s great religions.

I assume that when the post states "one of the world’s great religions" it is referring to Christianity. The misunderstanding made in this and other articles is in the belief that the Vatican's stance on contraception, abortion, and gay rights is based on some universal and "fundamental" Christian understanding. The fact is, not all Christian denominations hold the Vatican's views .... for example, the Episcopal Church is supportive of gay rights, the Presbyterian Church leaves the decision about abortion and its morality up to the conscience of the individual, and the UCC is fine with contraception (Pew Forum)

Not even all Catholics agree with the Vatican's stance on these issues, and in fact a large number appear to believe the opposite .... Pope Francis faces church divided over doctrine, global poll of Catholics finds ... Synod on family surveys: German, Swiss Catholics reject teachings on marriage, sexuality

Also, a lot of the outrage I've seen directed at the UN's criticism seems to be over the idea of "religious liberty" being violated .... the thought that the Catholic Church is being told it cannot teach what it believes. I don't think this is exactly what the UN meant. I think the UN would grant the Church the right to believe and teach what it wants, but the Church goes far beyond that .... the Church runs human trafficking charities with government grants but doesn't want to give victims access to contraception ... the Church works with AIDs patients in Africa but doesn't allow the use of condoms ... the Church runs hospitals around the world that provide OB/GYN care but will not make some decisions necessary to save women's lives.

Pius IX once said "The state must recognize [the Catholic Church] as supreme and submit to its influence. . . . The power of the state must be at its disposal and all who do not conform to its requirements must be compelled or punished. . . . Freedom of conscience and cult is madness." (link). It was against this mindset that John Courtney Murray SJ worked so hard for *true* religious liberty.

I think what bothers the Vatican so much about the UN's recommendations is not that they are a threat to fundamental Christian beliefs or a threat to religious liberty, but instead something else ... a threat to what has been up to now the Vatican's complete lack of accountability.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Richard said...

...and she's back:)

8:42 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

But maybe not with all my marbles? ;)

11:52 AM  

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