Sunday, February 9, 2014

Taking A Close Look at the "Church Teaching" That Vatican Media Apologists Claim U.N. Attacks: There's Their World, and Then There's the Real World

For Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), David Clohessy responds to Austen Ivereigh's claim that the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child "ambushed" the Vatican with its recent report: 

He claims Vatican officials were "ambushed" by the panel. 
-- I'm not positive, but I'll bet that Vatican officials knew back in 1990 they would be questioned periodically on their compliance with the treaty. The Catholic hierarchy saw this coming long ago. In fact, they asked for it when they wanted to be treated like a nation and signed the treaty. 
So this is not the UN "coming after" the Vatican.  It’s simply the UN doing what the Vatican agreed to have them do. 

For Andrew Sullivan, the "acid test" facing Pope Francis is the abuse crisis. Sullivan notes that the Legion of Christ has just elected a new leader, while issuing an apology for the years of abuse the Legion founder Marcial Maciel inflicted on seminarians. But:

And when you absorb just how evil this cult was, just how depraved its leader was, and the psychic and spiritual toll it took on so many human beings, you come to one conclusion: there is no way this organization should still exist. The Vatican should shut it down. Period. Instead we have the former cronies and favorites of Maciel still calling the shots . . . .

Colleen Baker takes a close look at John Allen's last column for National Catholic Reporter and at this week's statement by Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, the Vatican's observer for the U.N.'s  Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals on "Promoting Equality, including Social Equity, Gender Equality, and Women’s Empowerment," and comes away disheartened. As she concludes, when the Vatican (aided by its journalistic enablers) talks about according women a new place in the church, it really means the same old tiny nook glammed up a little bit: 

I don't have any hope that the place of women in the Church is going to substantially change if Catholics look to the Vatican for that change. For all John Allen's semi optimistic prescriptive speculation, the truth is in Chullikatt's presentation to the UN. Catholicism places women's reproductive ability and family relationships ahead of any other aspect of their humanity. The men of the Vatican assure women that is what they are and what they want and how they must organize and prioritize their lives, and all this without even acknowledging in too many places on this planet women and girls don't even have a choice to make those choices----but of course even when a woman chooses to have a child, but does it wrong in the eyes of the Church, the Church will kick her out.  Great. 

Most Catholics worldwide disagree with church teachings on divorce, abortion and contraception and are split on whether women and married men should become priests, according to a large new poll released Sunday and commissioned by the U.S. Spanish-language network Univision. On the topic of gay marriage, two-thirds of Catholics polled agree with church leaders.

As Boorstein and Craighill point out, the de facto situation facing Pope Francis as he convenes the Synod on the Family is that Catholics in Europe, North America, and parts of Latin America reject magisterial teaching on issues like divorce, abortion, and contraception, while in Latin America, they are divided on the subject of gay rights.* In Africa and Asia, Catholics continue to support the magisterium's views on these issues, though, as Ronald Inglehart of World Values Survey, which conducted the poll cited above notes, even there, there is an erosion of support for the magisterial views about these matters.

As a reminder of where American Catholics stand on these issues, see the 2013 fact sheet of Public Religion Research Institute, which shows that

• 57% of U.S. Catholics support the right of same-sex couples to civil marriage 
• 76% of U.S. Catholics call for society to accept same-sex relationships 
• 55% of U.S. Catholics approve of the right of same-sex couples to adopt children 
• 76% of U.S. Catholics support laws prohibiting discrimination against people on grounds of sexual orientation in the workplace 
• 54% of U.S. Catholics think abortion should be legal, though 57% regard it as immoral 
• 81% of U.S. Catholics think that the use of artificial contraception is morally acceptable.

(Thanks to Terry Weldon of Queering the Church for sharing the link to Boorstein and Craighill's Washington Post article, and to Jim McCrea for sharing the link to the Public Religion Research Institute fact sheet.)

*Please note my note of correction here about the Univision poll: it surveyed Catholics globally, and not only in Latin America. 

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