In the Irish Independent Brendan O'Connor argues that we must not allow our "outrage fatigue" amidst a ceaseless stream of reports about the cover-up of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic authority figures to obscure the importance of the U.N. report on the Vatican:
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.
Make no mistake, if the Holy See was an actual country, we would be at the least boycotting its fruit and at the most sending in the tanks. Here is a state that has institutionalised homophobia, discrimination against women and children, that has systematically overseen the protection of the abusers of tens of thousands of children, protecting abusers from the laws of their host countries. Here is a state that has overseen mass scale trafficking of babies, a state that opposes modern health and sexual education for young women, a state that forces secrecy on children, even those who are victims of sexual abuse.
He concludes: "The UN's message to the church is stark. If you want to be a state, you need to act like one."
And he's right.