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Catholic Roundup - February 2-8, 2014

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U.N. to Church: Change Your Teachings to Stop Abuse

The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child has blasted the Vatican, claiming that "The Holy See has consistently placed the preservation of the reputation of the Church and the protection of the perpetrators above children's best interests." Refusing to acknowledge changes in how the Catholic Church handles sexual-abuse allegations, the authors of the report have demanded that the Vatican "immediately remove" not only priests who have been found guilty of sexual abuse but also any who have ever been accused.

But the committee did not stop there: It demanded that the Catholic Church change her teachings on abortion, contraception, and homosexuality as proof of her commitment to protecting children. That was a bridge too far: As Reuters reports, "The Vatican initially planned a muted response, according to a person familiar with the matter, but raised its tone, after much debate, in response to the report's demands that the Catholic Church scale back its opposition to abortion, artificial contraception and homosexuality."

The Holy See Press Office decried the committee's "attempt to interfere with Catholic Church teaching on the dignity of human person and in the exercise of religious freedom." Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's representative to the United Nations, was even more blunt, calling the committee's remarks on abortion “a contradiction with the principle of life.”

Press coverage of the report and the Vatican's response has been less than stellar. A prime example is this report by NBC News, which makes it appear that the Vatican's objection to the U.N.'s "attempt to interfere with Catholic Church teaching" has to do with the Church's policies on sexual abuse, rather than her teaching on abortion, contraception, and homosexuality.

Next: Was a Catholic school wrong to fire an unwed teacher who became pregnant?

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