Jacob Rees-Mogg Cameron is taking on the secularist cult FEATURE, PAGE 7
Lord Deben Francis is just about to shock the comfortable COMMENT, PAGE 12
Stuart Reid Chesterton gets worse with age
CHARTERHOUSE, PAGE 20
May 9 2014 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)
Francis to address UN leaders as new grilling in Geneva strains ties
Pope expected to urge UN to focus on its founding mission after ‘surreal’ questioning of Church record on torture
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
POPE FRANCIS will address United Nations leaders tomorrow amid rising tensions between the UN and the Holy See.
The Pope will speak to 29 executive heads of the UN’s specialised agencies, including representatives from institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the UN Population Fund. He is expected to urge them to dedicate themselves anew to the UN’s founding principles.
The speech will follow two days of intense scrutiny of the Holy See in Geneva by the UN Committee on the Convention against Torture. It also comes a few months after the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child issued a scathing report on the Holy See that criticised Church teaching on contraception and abortion.
The Holy See signed the Convention against Torture in 2002 and Archbishop Silvano Tomasi appeared before the UN committee on Monday and Tuesday, presenting the Holy See’s periodic report to members.
During a two-hour grilling, committee members focused on the Church’s record on abuse and called for a permanent investigation system to end a “climate of impunity”. George Tugushi, a committee member from Georgia, said that while Pope Francis’s decision to establish a Vatican commission to combat child abuse was a positive step it was not enough.
During further questioning on Tuesday, committee members suggested that the Church’s opposition to abortion violated the Convention against Torture. Archbishop Tomasi said the Church considered the right to life “non-negotiable”. He cited figures suggesting that in 2005 66 babies were born alive in Britain after failed abortions and left to die. “Such cruel methods of late abortions truly constitute torture, especially through the use of evacuation techniques, where the baby, still alive, is dismembered and than pulled out of the womb in pieces,” he said.
In answer to criticisms of the Church’s record on abuse, Archbishop Tomasi told the committee that between 2004 and 2013 the Vatican had laicised 848 priests while
Pope Francis will address the heads of the UN’s agencies tomorrow amid claims that UN committees are unfairly targeting the Catholic Church AP
2,572 were given other penalties, such as removal from active ministry and a ban on working with children.
The UN committee’s final report on the Holy See will be released on May 23 and is expected to be critical of Church teachings on abortion, contraception and homosexuality.
Speaking to the National Catholic Register before the grilling, Archbishop Tomasi said: “In recent years, it seems that the committee of the Convention against Torture has permitted the evolution and incorporation of terms and ideas that are not part of the original convention. It is argued that the insertion of these new terms comes from the nature of the convention as a living document that allows the development and inclusion of new forms of ‘torture’ that are in harmony with the ‘spirit of the document’, if not, in fact, literally found therein. As such, an analysis of the concluding observations of this committee reveals the inclusion of issues regarding abortion, contraception, homosexuality and the like, none of which is met with an international consensus.
“Therefore, it would seem reasonable to presume that the committee will continue this same line of thinking and present strong objections to some of the Church’s moral teachings on these behaviours, considering them forms of psychological burden and torture.”
Groups that submitted evidence to the committee include the abuse survivors’ group SNAP, the Centre for Reproductive Rights, the Global Initiative to End Corporal Punishment and the Child’s Rights Network. Three Catholic organisations also submitted evidence, including Catholic Voices USA. Ashley McGuire, giving evidence on behalf of Catholic Voices, said it was “surreal” to defend the Catholic Church’s record on torture before the committee.
She said: “It was surreal to have to pack my bag and leave my world behind to fly thousands of miles to sit in a small room and tell a panel of men and women that, no, the Church is not a house of torture.” Vatican Notebook: Page 4 Editorial Comment: Page 13
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Number of Catholics growing at faster rate than global population BY CAROL GLATZ
THE NUMBER of Catholics in the world and the number of priests, permanent deacons and religious men all increased in 2012, while the number of women in religious orders continued to decline, according to the Vatican statistics.
The number of candidates for the priesthood also showed its first global downturn in recent years.
The statistics come from a new Statistical Yearbook of the
Church, which reported worldwide Church figures as of December 31 2012.
By the end of that year the worldwide Catholic population had reached 1.228 billion, an increase of 14 million or 1.14 per cent, slightly outpacing the global population growth rate, which, as of 2013, was estimated at 1.09 per cent.
Catholics as a percentage of the global population remained essentially unchanged from the previous year at around 17.5 per cent. But the latest Vatican yearbook estimated that about 4.8 million Catholics were not included in its survey as they were in countries that could not provide an accurate report to the Vatican, mainly China and North Korea.
According to the yearbook, the percentage of Catholics as part of the general population is highest in the Americas, where they make up 63.2 per cent of the population. Asia has the lowest proportion, with 3.2 per cent. During the 2012 calendar year, there were 16.4 million baptisms of both infants and adults, according to the statistical yearbook.
The number of candidates for the priesthood – both diocesan and religious – dropped slightly to 120,051 men at the end of 2012 compared to 120,616 the year before. Modest increases were reported in Africa and Asia. Africa reported 245 more candidates than in 2011 and Asia reported 179 more men in their final years of study for ordination.
Head to Alps, Pope tells social climbers BY CAROL GLATZ
THE CHURCH is no place for “climbers” who want to reach the heights of prestige, power and profit, Pope Francis has said.
Instead of putting their sights on the Church, such people should set off for the Alps for a healthier way to get to the top, the Pope said during his homily at Monday’s Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae. He also raised a red flag against “many good Catholics” and benefactors who have raised money for the Church but profited from their efforts.
The Pope said people should reflect on their true motivation for being part of the Church. Unfortunately, there are Christians who like to “strut around like real peacocks”, full of vanity, he said.
Deacons’ tap dance impresses cardinals BY STAFF REPORTER
TWO tap-dancing deacons won a standing ovation from dignitaries who whooped and cheered during their performance in Rome last week.
Diners at the annual rector’s dinner at the Pontifical North American College had an unexpected treat when two deacons followed a choral rendition of “Give My Regard to Broadway” with a tap dancing routine. Seminarians, priests, bishops, cardinals and laity clapped along as the deacons seemed to battle against each other in demonstrating their staccato terpsichorean abilities to piano and fiddle accompaniment. The dinner was in honour of Cardinal James Harvey and attended by alumni, as well as diplomats and curial officials.
Bishop Philip Egan Responsible bloggers are a gift for the Church PAGE 8
Mary Kenny Why cookery shows are bad for us PAGE 12
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