The Holy See intends to focus

Hey remember the Catholic church? That pretends to be the source of truth and morality and true morality and moral truth? That Catholic church?

It’s been busy at the UN lately. Helping out? Offering assistance to victims of war and earthquakes? Knitting balaclavas for the homeless?

No. Trying to convince the committee against torture that it – the church – doesn’t have to enforce the UN convention against torture because it – the church, or rather the Vatican – has borders, and the convention is outside it.

That’s moral truth and true morality for you.

The Vatican has been given another hostile interrogation by a United Nations committee over its record on clerical sex abuse.

One member after another of the committee against torture brushed aside the Holy See’s argument that its obligation to enforce the UN convention against torture stopped at the boundaries of the world’s smallest country, the Vatican City state.

Pause to give close attention to that item. The “Holy See” is claiming that its obligation to enforce the UN convention against torture stops at the boundaries of the Vatican City state. It is acting like any CEO or Ponzi schemer or Mafia boss while pretending to be close to “God” and the source of all virtue.

The Holy See, which long predates the city state, is a sovereign entity without territory. It is as the Holy See that the Catholic leadership maintains diplomatic relations and signs treaties such as the convention against torture.

And gets to throw its weight around and fuck everything up in the name of its hateful god.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s UN ambassador in Geneva, told the committee: “The Holy See intends to focus exclusively on Vatican City state.”

The American expert on the committee, Felice Gaer, made plain her disagreement. She said the Holy See had to “show us that, as a party to the convention, you have a system in place to prohibit torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment when it is acquiesced to by anyone under the effective control of the officials of the Holy See and the institutions that operate in the Vatican City state”.

Talk about eating cake and having it – they want to have all the perks of being a state while also pretending not to be a state whenever being a state means they would have to do something they don’t want to do, like stop their people torturing children.

Gaer, the director of an American-Jewish human rights organisation, the Jacob Blaustein Institute, said the church’s doctrine on abortion was an area of legitimate concern for the committee. She called for the Vatican to comment on allegations that its blanket stigmatisation of abortion had led to nine-year-old girls being required to give birth.

In February, the Vatican reacted with outrage when another UN panel argued that children around the world were suffering from Catholic teachings, including those on abortion and birth control. The Vatican said comments by the committee on the rights of the child constituted an attack on religious freedom.

Ahhh fuck you, Vatican; you’re the bitter enemies of any kind of real freedom there is. You want freedom to do whatever you want to do while coercing everyone else. Priests on top! That’s not freedom, not even religious freedom.


  1. Al Dente says

    Centuries ago the Catholic Church stopped being concerned about people and became fixated on money and power. Telling them they have to abide by international law means a loss of power which is intolerable to the church hierarchy.

  2. Blanche Quizno says

    Thank you, Ophelia, for putting the cake eating and having in the proper order.

  3. says

    The Holy See, which long predates the city state

    Nonsense. Athens was there first.
    And the ‘holy see’ doesn’t even predate Rome.

  4. Pierce R. Butler says

    Marcus Ranum @ # 4 – I think they meant that the HS predates the formation of “Vatican City” as a legal entity.

    Meanwhile, people will keep telling us that Freewheelin’ Frankie is “the good pope”. Feh!

  5. Crimson Clupeidae says

    For an organization that preaches so strongly that objective morality exists……

  6. Abdul Alhazred says

    But seriously folks …

    Other than public relations, does a UN condemnation for human rights abuses mean anything at all?

    The UN is not a government.

    Nothing it says means anything unless one or more member government steps up to do something about it. No member state “has to” enforce anything or obey anything. Let alone the Vatican, which is not a member.

    Do you really suppose anyone is going to send in peacekeepers for this one?

    It’s pure PR and posturing on both sides.

  7. Gordon Willis says

    The RCC can’t give way to the merely secular. They’re ruled by God, and that’s it. They won’t be told, because only God is qualified to tell them anything, and all we miserable sinners are not to be regarded as anything other than dust. They laugh at our pretensions to morality. And they have full authority to declare God’s will as and when they please. So we can’t tell them anything. Perhaps we should just arrest the Pope: ah, but they’ve thought of that, with their sovereign See, so much older better than mere states and entirely dependent on others agreeing… On the other hand, they’re now shouting about “religious freedom”. This is something quite new. So maybe they don’t feel quite so impregnable. Good. So, let’s arrest the Pope.

  8. Gordon Willis says

    Blanche, you’re welcome. Of course, most people think I put it in the wrong order.

    First I encountered the wrong order. I was but small. Understanding was an attainment for the big. The wrong order persisted for many years. Mere incomprehension: after all, if I have cake, why should I not eat it? One day, the right order happened. Instantly, I understood. But it was the wrong order. I was annoyed. Thus the indoctrination of children.

    There is also: you want to have your cake and eat it too. I found this in a book. No doubt one of those half-way heresies that try to… well.

    I have it on some authority or other that the Church of Cake with Icing teacheth “you want to eat your cake and have it too”, but is this not the Supererogant Heresy?

  9. Gordon Willis says

    I am told that it should be the Church of Cake WITH Icing. mea culpa. I go cakeless into the dark…

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