In a test for Pope Francis’s image of a kinder, gentler Vatican, a United Nations human rights commission has issued a scathing report, taking the Church to task for failing to this day to protect children from pedophile priests and for an array of policies that violate human rights, including LGBT rights.
The report from the UN’s Committee on the Rights of the Child is a catalog of past and ongoing offenses related to the pedophile priest scandal (or, as the Vatican would prefer to think of it, the gay pedophile priest scandal).
“The committee is gravely concerned that the Holy See has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by, and the impunity of, the perpetrators,” the report charged.
But in addressing the rights of children, the committee went much further afield, taking into account the harm that Vatican policies cause. Chief among them: the Vatican’s homophobia.
“While also noting as positive the progressive statement delivered in July 2013 by Pope Francis, the Commitee is concerned about the Holy See’s past statements and declarations on homosexuality which contribute to the social stigmatization and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adolescents and children raised by same sex couples,” the report complained.
Needless to say, from the Vatican’s perspective the report is the world’s largest lead balloon. The Vatican press office issued a statement saying that it was sorry with the committee’s “attempt to interfere” with Church teaching and the “exercise of religious freedom.” Or, in other words, buzz off.
Just how much criticism the Church can continue to take without starting to modify its position is anyone’s guess. But remember, it’s an institution that measures time in millennia, so don’t count on seeing any changes any time soon.