In his interesting post about what the Anglicans are doing to arrest the decline in Church going (they might also do something about the want of knowledge of the Bible among our children, quite a few of whom attend Church schools – as indeed might we Catholics), Struans linked to a poll with the quite unastonishing news that when surveyed, many sinners would prefer the Catholic Church to endorse their sin rather than to condemn it. I would be tempted to add that, ‘in more news, the Pope is a Catholic’, except that in view of recent posts, that might indeed be a controversial view. Is there anything more likely that the children of this world will prefer to follow their sins? Were that not so, what need would there have been of Christ, and why would he have had to suffer as he did? It is equally unsurprising that the United Nations, a body which has singularly failed to do anything useful to save the people of Syria from the disaster unfolding there, should have turned its fire onto an easier target – the Catholic Church.
In a recent report, which launched an excoriating attack on the Vatican’s handling of the child abuse scandal, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, took the opportunity to attack other elements of the teaching of the Church, in particular it stance on contraception, gay rights and gender equality. I am not getting into the rights and wrongs of the Vatican’s response to the child abuse scandal, and those who want the Vatican’s reaction can find it here; but it is worth spending some time on the other aspects of the report, because, like the poll Struans mentioned, it shows the extent to which the world and the Church are diverging.
That a Committee on the Rights of the Child, which is part of an organisation dedicated to ensuring that there should be fewer children in the world, and supports abortion, should criticise a Church which, whatever its failing, actually support the idea of there being more children and opposes killing them in the womb, is only one of the ironies of the situation. There has been, for at least the last twenty years, a consistent attempt by the abortion zealots at the UN to remove the Vatican from the organisation, and this is, perhaps, ‘pay-back’ for the efforts the Church has made in obstructing that agenda.
A recent UNESCO reporthighlighted the importance, in eduction, of promoting abortion and gay rights. It has not, of course, condemned those of its own members who have laws against sodomy and abortion, as that would have required its leaders to show some leadership, so, instead, it takes aim at the Catholic Church which, rightly, it recognises as one of the major obstacles to the global implementation of measures making abortion a compulsory ‘right'; it is also in the forefront of the fight against the lazy assumption that more contraception is a good way of securing sexual health; heaven forfend anyone advocate fidelity and abstinence. As anyone acquainted with most African cultures knows, the pill does nothing to save women from infection, and men do not like using condoms, so the idea tends to fail even in its own terms.
The Church offers a radically different view of the importance of human life, and of the value of the individual. It does not deny the reality of poverty in many parts of the world, exactly the parts where, often, it is one of the few aid agencies at work, but it does not partake of the view that the fewer humans there are the better. Its vision of the rights of the child include a right to life, as well as, through its social teaching, the right to a better quality of life.
No doubt the fight between the Church and the world will continue. But Churches, such as my old one (Anglican) which have already aligned with the world on the contraception issue, will suffer less from the assaults of the UN. The latter might do better promoting dissident Catholic groups who agree with the world and its priorities than it will putting out reports which clearly promote one agenda; not least one not shared by so many of its own members. It might also care to look up its own stance on religious freedom. There must be a word to describe a bureaucracy so bloated that its right hand is not aware of the existence of its left hand.