Full disclosure – UN demanding Church come clean

un%20logoUpon reading this article, about the UN demanding a full disclosure of the Vatican files on sexual abuse committed by clergy and in institutions run by the Church, which they claim occurred “on an unbelievable scale”, I can’t help but wonder who they think they are. The tone of the article, but seemingly also of the UN’s Committee on the Rights of the Child, is extremely tendentious, taking for a fact that the level of sexual abuse was many times higher in the Church than anywhere else, and that there exists a systematic cover-up of these cases. The measures taken by the Holy See under Pope Benedict XVI, and by individual bishops’ conferences and religious bodies in many parts of the world (although, admittedly, not everywhere) are conveniently ignored.

There is no vast repository of files, somewhere in a vault in the Vatican. There are policies, and the UN does not need any disclosure to find those out. If they want to know about individual cases, they should contact Church entities on a much lower level, where much of the groundwork is and will be done. I am sure the Holy See will be happy to do what is needed, but many may be disappointed by the relative lack of shocking revelations, especially when held up against the numbers from other institutions and member nations.

Much has changed for the better, although much more still needs to change. The UN would do better in demanding full disclosure from all its member nations and the institutions she herself runs, instead of focussing on a single one. That is bad policy and popular opinion driving actions of an institution which should be above that to serve the world.

The article lauds Pope Francis for taking steps to combat corruption and says he should do the same with regards to sexual abuse. Pope Benedict took the first steps in that tough line, but is still almost universally reviled for apparently not doing so. I somehow don’t think that Pope Francis’ actions against sexual abuse, by themselves, will do much to make him popular. The world and popular opinion is much too simple for that: he seems a nice chap, and that makes him popular. His policies won’t make much of a difference for most.

Am I saying that the UN has no right to know? Well, in a sense. It has the right to know, but no more than anyone else has. Information should not be shared just because the UN says so, but because it is the right thing to do and the people should know. The UN will say that is the same thing. Many clearer minds will say it is not.

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incaelo

I'm a 37-year-old lay Catholic from the diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden. I write about the Catholic Church in the Netherlands. I not only enjoy bringing selected developments to the attention of readers, but I also think that it is sometimes important to allow a wider audience to read about the state of the Church in the Netherlands. That's why a fair number of posts about that topic will be translations of Dutch articles, episcopal writings and whatever else.

3 thoughts on “Full disclosure – UN demanding Church come clean”

  1. No doubt some lefty liberal extremist has got his eye on the main chance here at some attention grabbing headlines. It’s a shame that they cannot put their own house in order first:
    The London Times reported in 2004 from the DR of Congo that
    — UN staffers committed 150 or more sex crimes, including pornographic videos and photos, “now on sale in Congo;
    –UN peacekeepers in Kisangani, on the Congo River, impregnated 141 Congolese women and girls; others were accused of rape;
    –Congo’s Minister of Defense, Major General Jean Pierre Ondekane, told a top UN official that all peacekeepers in Kisangani would be remembered “for running after little girls,” not doing their job;
    –at least two UN officials, a Ukrainian and Canadian, were forced out of DR Congo for impregnating local women;
    The report concluded that: “Unfortunately sexual abuse, rape, and sex trafficking are more commonplace than occasional, wherever Blue Helmets are deployed.”
    In 2009 the Independent ran the following story: “Fifty UN peacekeepers punished for sex abuses,”
    it went on: “At least 50 were involved in “committing sexual abuses (and exploitation) on United Nations missions since 2007, the UN said today.” It’s the tip of the iceberg. Since the first June 1948 UNTSO mission after Israel’s “war of independence,” abuses occurred regularly in Bosnia, Kosovo, Sudan, Lebanon, Cambodia, Liberia, East Timor, Rwanda, Haiti, DR Congo, and elsewhere. Since 2007 through late 2009 alone, UN officials uncovered over 450 instances of misconduct. Imagine how many others weren’t reported, and abuses remain ongoing today.

    In January 2009, Save the Children reported Blue Helmet abuses, including trading food for sex with girls as young as eight in Liberia, said also to go on in Burundi, Ivory Coast, East Timor, DR Congo, Cambodia, and Bosnia. Various other reports were similar, abuses including sex with young girls, rape and trafficking.”
    The report concluded that: “The UN’s zero tolerance policy is more rhetoric than effective policy, and won’t change fundamentals on the ground that include an informal and exploitable labor force, corruption and criminality, no accountability, and ongoing sex trade. As a result, UN peacekeepers are more corrosive and negative, not a positive influence where they’re deployed. They serve power, not local people needs, and that’s the crux of the problem UN authorities make no effort to address or correct.”

    These reports prove beyond doubt that the UN is by far the world’s most prolific sex abuse organisation. Surely it’s about time that government’s around the world started withdrawing funding from them until they start addressing the issue?

    1. You said everything I wanted to say when I opened the comment window — only more and better informed. Thanks. The UN wants the Church to come clean? That’s rich! The UN is not only a severely corrupt organization (both morally and philosophically), but is also increasingly ineffective in the few things it ought to be able to do without controversy, like supply clean water and elements of basic living standards to the disadvantaged and oppressed. Members of the Catholic Church community may have their personal sins which are a terrible wound on the Mystical Body, but at least it is demonstrable that the main mission of the Church — the spreading of the Word and the Salvation of souls — does march on as it should with tremendous success. The UN, on the whole, has degenerated in to plague upon the world.

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