Friday, February 7, 2014

Fr Lombardi Defends Holy Father Church From The Clueless UN

Fr Lombardi condescends to rebut the UN Report on the Rights of the Child.  Apparently the adults of the UN don't have the brains to understand the machinations of the Holy See well enough to do such a thing.

I'm almost impressed.  Someone was working overtime in the Vatican--Greg Burke's Office perhaps--to read all the commenting on the UN Report and make up a talking points list for the Vatican's rapidly aging official spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi.  He issued his communique with it's list of rebuttals this morning in Rome.  More than a few of those talking points were intended to reestablish the proper order of things vis a vis Roman Catholicism and a puny UN Committee that is basically insignificant.

Here's the proper understanding of the place of this committee in the greater global sphere of influence:

"The recommendations made ​​by the Committee are often quite sparse and of relative weight. It is not by chance, that there is rarely heard a worldwide echo of the recommendations in the international press, even in the case of countries where problems of human rights and [problems regarding] children are known to be grave.

Once Fr Lombardi has made the point this is an obscure committee, he then tells us the Vatican gave 'ample' written evidence to the committee and submitted to a whole day of questioning, (well two Fathers did) essentially implying the Vatican was doing this obscure UN Committee a favor.  And then after all of this the Committee releases it's report, which apparently was supposed to pat the Vatican on the back for being the most important global force in children's rights because Lombardi then writes this:

What is there to observe in this regard? 

First, the Holy See 's adherence to the Convention was motivated by a historical commitment of the universal Church and the Holy See for the sake of the children. Anyone who does not realize what this [commitment] represents for the sake of the children in the world today, is simply unfamiliar with this dimension of reality. The Holy See, therefore, as the Holy See’s Secretary of State, Archbishop Pietro Parolin has said, continues its efforts to implement the Convention and to maintain an open, constructive and engaged dialogue with the organs contained therein. [The Holy See] will take its further positions and will give account of them, and so on, without trying to escape from a genuine dialogue, from the established procedures, with openness to justified criticism – but the Holy See will do so with courage and determination , without timidity.
It is precisely that historical commitment that the UN was questioning by bringing up specifics such as the Magdalene Laundries, abuse in boarding schools and orphanages, baby selling schemes in Ireland and Spain, referring to and ostracizing children of single mothers as 'bastards', doing absolutely nothing about it's stated doctrine concerning discrimination against gays, expecting very young girls to carry pregnancies to term, official teachings based in notions of 'complimentary' which do no more than set in new double speak the dignity of girls and women as subordinate to their reproductive capabilities,  refusing to teach or even consider condoms or other birth control for adolescents in developing countries---not even for HIV/AIDS prevention, and then of course, the issue that strikes at the heart of Holy Father Church's spiritual soul, the global clerical sexual abuse scandal.
The Holy See can 'dialogue' with courage and determination and without timidity of that I have no doubt.  The real question is will it dialogue with transparency, without obstinancy and obfuscation, and with a desire to learn something from how the rest of the world views the actions of the Roman Catholic Church.  Based on HISTORY, I doubt it.
Lombardi's very first point of contention is that the Committee doesn't get the unique structure of the Holy See.  Of course, of course:
"In particular, the [Observations’] lack of understanding of the specific nature of the Holy See seem serious. It is true that the Holy See is a reality different from other countries, and that this makes it less easy to understand the Holy See’s role and responsibilities . [These particularities], however, have been explained in detail many times in the Holy See’s twenty years and more of adherence to the Convention, and [specifically addressed] in recent written responses. [Are we dealing with] an inability to understand, or an unwillingness to understand? In either case, one is entitled to amazement.
Perhaps the poor Vatican is just dealing with a bunch of stupid women and hack third world academics, huh Father?  But unlike Lombardi, the committee most certainly spelled out how they saw the specific nature of the Holy See.  That's something Lombardi doesn't deign to do here, but then I suspect the idea of Lombardi's rant is not to correct misconceptions, but to belittle and demean the committee.  After all it would be hard for him to admit the scope of the Holy See's responsibilities morphs depending on what court room or official investigation they are dragged into.
Lombardi then goes on to list most of the other talking points used by Austen Ivereigh et al,  and ends with a big fat Holy Father whine fest"
The way in which the objections [contained in the Concluding Observations] were presented, as well as the insistence on diverse particular cases, seem to suggest that a much greater attention was given to certain NGOs, the prejudices of which against the Catholic Church and the Holy See are well known, rather than to the positions of the Holy See itself, which were also available in a detailed dialogue with the Committee.  (OOH how novel, the always useful anti-Catholic card. Except, those NGO's like SNAP and it's victim/survivors have a right not to see the Catholic Church as Holy Mother and to question it's commitment to Christian principles. They are not anti Catholic, they are anti Catholic hierarchy, and they are not alone.)

A lack of desire to recognize all the Holy See and the Church have done in recent years, [especially as regards] recognizing errors, renewing the regulations, and developing educational and preventive measures, is in fact typical of such organizations. Few, other organizations or institutions, if any, have done as much. This, however, is definitely not what one understands by reading the document in question. (Now we have the 'no one has done more than us' card.  Except, Lombardi is leaving out a ton of somewhat recent history and the very important fact, the Holy See would have done absolutely nothing if it hadn't been forced to by secular institutions.  It has never led.  It was always dragged kicking and screaming.)

Finally, and this is perhaps the most serious observation: the Committee’s comments in several directions seem to go beyond its powers and to interfere in the very moral and doctrinal positions of the Catholic Church, giving indications involving moral evaluations of contraception, or abortion, or education in families, or the vision of human sexuality, in light of [the Committee’s] own ideological vision of sexuality itself. For this reason, in the official communique released Wednesday morning there was talk of “an attempt to interfere in the teaching of the Catholic Church on the dignity of the human person and in the exercise of religious freedom.”  (The committee asked that the Church consider the real life consequences of certain teachings regarding gender and sex and live up to it's stated belief in the dignity of the gay person. That's it.  That this is being spun as the UN trying to interfere with Church teaching is at best projection,  at worst deception.  There are real life consequences from the absolutism of certain teachings.)

Finally, one cannot but observe that the tone, development, and the publicity given by the Committee in its document are absolutely anomalous when compared to its normal progress in relations with other States that are party to the Convention. (That's only because the Holy See is such a special and unique State.)

In sum: if the Holy See was certainly the subject of an initiative and a media attention in our view unfairly harmful, one needs to recognize that, in turn, the Committee has itself attracted much serious and well-founded criticism. Without desiring to place [responsibility for] what has transpired “[on] the United Nations”, it must be said that the UN carries the brunt of the negative consequences in public opinion, for the actions of a Committee that calls itself [by the UN name].  (Oh, my god. puhlease.  This paragraph is totally embarrassing, or it should be,  but I forget I'm dealing the Holy Father Church.  So of course the UN has more mud splattered on it that does the Vatican--at least in the minds of the boys at the Vatican.)
There is so much more I could write about this, but it would degenerate into a complete line of snark.  No question the boys are circling the wagons.  I just find it really instructive that Jesus didn't whine at all about being whipped and Crucified, but the boys in the Vatican who have earned their whipping and Crucifixion can't stop whining, can't stop making themselves victims, can't begin to own up to the fact there are serious serious issues within the priesthood and with some Catholic teachings.  It's incomprehensible to me they expect adults to follow their spiritual leadership.  Finally,  I don't understand how it's possible to respect the rights of children when your knee reaction to criticism from adults is to demean and belittle them as if they were children.  Just sayin'. 


  1. Gee! I wonder where the term "clerical arrogance" originated from?

  2. Obviously not from the clerics themselves since they seem incapable or recognizing it.

    Lombardi's whole shtick seems like the Vatican expected to deal with the "UN Committee On The Rights of the Vatican", not the one On The Rights Of Children.

  3. Wouldn't it be nice if, for once and before getting up in front of the media and with true humility, a Catholic cleric did a thorough examination of conscience that lasted until he was again off-camera?