Vatican’s report on children’s human rights 13-years overdue

Being a UN member state has benefits, but also priviliges–one of which the Vatican, conspicuously, has neglected for more than a dozen years:

The Vatican has failed to send the United Nations a report on child rights that is now almost 13 years overdue, the head of a U.N. panel has told The Associated Press.Like all countries that have signed the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Vatican is required to submit regular reports on its efforts to safeguard child rights.

But the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, despite sending repeated reminders, has received no explanation from the Holy See for why it missed a 1997 deadline, according to the committee’s chairwoman Yanghee Lee. In the years since, the Vatican has come under intense scrutiny over its handling of child sex abuse allegations around the world and recently admitted that up to one in 20 priests may be implicated.

“I’ve made contact with the Holy See on several occasions,” Lee said in a recent telephone interview. “I haven’t received anything.”

Officials at the Vatican’s mission in Geneva declined comment Thursday, saying the Catholic city state’s envoy to the U.N., Silvano Tomasi, was unavailable.

Tomasi refused to discuss the report last month, saying he was “only the messenger,” not the author of the report.

A Vatican representative told the U.N. last year that the report was being “finalized as we speak.”

Appearing before the U.N.’s Human Rights Council in September, Hubertus Matheus Van Megen said “a paragraph will be dedicated to the problem of child abuse by Catholic clergy.”

One paragraph? One goddamn paragraph on the only issue about the Vatican and children’s wellbeing anyone in the world cares about in a report 13-years overdue? The fucking gall. At this point, it’s clear there is no incentive, not even the most nakedly self-interested prudence, that can wake up church hierarchy to the travesty they’ve allowed to happen. No, that’s not right. They didn’t allow it to happen, they engineered it. Church officials right up to the highest office of Ratzinger have gone out of their way to hide abuses. They have knowingly refused to defrock abusers. If they haven’t encouraged bishops to do so, they said nothing to stop them from actively lobbying governments to beg them not to extend the stature of limitations in cases of child rape. They say nothing when bishops refuse to divulge the names of priests in even decades-old cases. In fact, they only just recently codified the policy which actively discourages bishops from releasing names into the secular press or authorities, except in those municipalities where there is an explicit legal obligation to do so. And this from the organization which identifies an existential threat to Western civilization in cultural relativism! What can be said to this but “First take the plank out of your own eye” (Matthew 7:5).

The adjective most used to describe victims’ groups’ response to the recent “revising” of the policy for handling sex offenders is “disapppointed”. But they should be actively furious. It is nothing if not the most brazen of insults to take the time to review this mincing, equivocal policy and not take the time to strengthen it. The document reiterates the imperitive to excommunicate any parties involved in ordaining women to the clergy, but outlines no punishment for abusers themselves.

It is an insult; the hierarchy issues “clarifications” of policies which oblige bishops to do nothing more or less than not play as if they were above the law, specifically those laws which enforce the barest iota of common sense and decency, but which Vatican prosecuters still decry as “onerous.”  They do this. But when the international humanitarian body which humors them to the extent of conferring nationhood on their corporation issues a mandate for reports on the wellbeing of children, the most Christlike among us (Matthew 19:14), they do not put aside more than a paragraph detailing their part in an ongoing 2,000-year atrocity. They believe that if they pretend it didn’t happen, we will forget. But I won’t; and I won’t let any of you.

Écrasez l’infamie.

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