Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva has given his reaction to the 'harsh' report from the committee of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In an interview with Vatican Radio today, he said the report has "a rather negative approach to what the Holy See has been doing and has already achieved in the area of the protection of children."
"The first impression is that the report in some ways is not up to date, not taking into account some of the clear and precise explanations that were given to the committee in the in the encounter that the delegation of the Holy See had with the committee three or four weeks ago.
"Second, I would say that there is a difficultly apparent in understanding the position of the Holy See that cannot certainly give up certain teachings that are part of their deep convictions and also an expression of freedom of religion and these are the values that in the tradition of the Catholic Church sustain the common good of society and therefore cannot be renounced, for example the committee asked for acceptance of abortion and this is a contradiction with the principle of life that the convention itself should support recommending that children be protected before and after birth.
"If a child is eliminated or killed we can no longer talk about rights for this person, so there is a need to calmly and in detail analyzing the recommendations proposed by the committee and provide an accurate response to the committee itself, so that there will be no misunderstanding on where we stand and the reason why we take certain positions.
"I would add that the practical remedies for preventing cases of abuse of children in forms of laws or decisions of Episcopal Conferences of directives for the formation of seminarians constitute a package of measures that is very difficult, I think, to find other institutions or even other states that have done so much specifically for the protection of children.
"So, my sense is that we have to continue to refine, to enact provisions that protect children in all their necessities so that they may grow and become productive adults in society and their dignity be constantly respected. And at the same time we have to keep in mind that even though there are so many millions, forty million cases of abuse a year regarding children and unfortunately some cases affect also Church personnel. We have to keep in mind that, we have to continue to combat this tragedy knowing that even a case of abuse of a child is a case too much."
Archbishop Tomas pointed out that "priests are not employees of the Pope but they are responsible citizens of the countries where they work and therefore accountable to the judicial system of those countries."
He said that the Vatican report, there had been an effort "to give an objective picture of the remedies undertaken of the new steps that still are in the making, like the commission announced by the Holy Father for the protection of minors, and without any comparison with other states,.. we simply say we recognize there has been a small percentage of Church personnel that have committed abuses and these are the steps taken to prevent that such abuses be made again."
The Archbishop concluder: "The Holy See is a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and intends to be faithfully carrying out all the elements of this Convention for the protection of children and this is the way toward the future and I don’t think that there will be fundamental changes in this task ahead."
See also: ICN 5 February 2014 UN committee lambasts Vatican policies and Catholic moral teachings www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=24101
Source: Vatican Radio