Inquisition: UN Hauls In The Vatican Before Torture Panel

Scott Greer Contributor
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The United Nations Committee Against Torture is calling upon a holy subject to testify and defend themselves against claims of human rights abuse — the Vatican.

The UN torture panel is investigating the Vatican’s alleged role in doing little to prevent regimes that flagrantly abused human rights and practiced torture in countries where the Catholic Church had a prominent place. According to the UN’s report, the Vatican — which is also a nation-state — had an obligation to do everything in its power to prevent the abuses perpetuated by cruel governments and needs to answer for its record during its testimony on Monday.

“The Holy See notes that in times past, cruel practices were commonly used by legitimate governments to maintain law and order, often without protest from the pastors of the church, who themselves adopted in their own tribunals the prescriptions of Roman law concerning torture,” reads the Vatican’s report. “Regrettable as these facts are, the church always taught the duty of clemency and mercy.”

According to Fox News, it is considered standard procedure to call one of the signatories of the committee’s convention before the panel and the Vatican happens to be one of the countries that agreed to its ramifications.

Ashley Mcguire, a board member for Catholic Voices USA, spoke before the committee on Friday and she spoke out against the spectacle of interrogating the Church for its abuse record.

“The Catholic Church is no stranger to persecution and intolerance,” Mcguire said. ” 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 also pleaded that the committee ignore “anti-Christian” calls for the Church to give up on its principles.

“I urge the committee to resist the swelling tide of anti-Christian intolerance that demands that the Catholic Church change her canon law and conform to modernity’s callous devaluation of the lives of vulnerable people, or as Pope Francis has put it, ‘our throwaway culture.’ Intolerance has no place within the World Body,” Mcguire stated.

What was not mentioned in the UN’s report and what could be one of the major issues of the panel is the pedophilia scandals that have rattled the church over the last decade.

Vatican representatives have urged the committee to not link the sanctioned-practice of torture with the cases of clergymen who sexually abused minors. 

The Holy See’s chief spokesman Rev. Frederico Lombardi said in a statement issued Friday that they have a “strong commitment against any form of torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment,” and countered that the campaign to have the Catholic Church investigated for torture has a “strong ideological character.”

“The extent to which this is deceptive and forced is clear to any unbiased observer,” Lombardi declared.

A group representing the victims of clerical sexual abuse, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, believes that more pressure should be exerted on the Church to prevent further sexual abuse.

Torture is defined by the UN’s Convention Against Torture as “Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.”

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