While clearly not particularly pro-Catholic, even the Huffington Post must admit:
Yet for the U.N., training up parishioners, the religious, and even the children in what makes a safe environment and ensuring that environment through criminal background checks is not sufficient. As someone who has undergone three background checks in three different dioceses, as well as 9 hours of safe environment classes, and in turn taught students from age 7 to age 16 how to be safe—all before the age of 23—I have seen first hand how encompassing this initiative has been. Rules like “never be alone with a child,” “if an adult ever makes you uncomfortable, immediately come find an adult,” “if you ever suspect abuse, you must report it,” are ingrained into my head, along with the abuse crisis hotline numbers for the Diocese of Orange in Florida.
What more would the UN have the Church do? Review the aspects of the Code of Canon Law that “are not in conformity with the provisions of the Convention, in particular those relating to children’s rights to be protected against discrimination, violence and all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse.” The words of this statement inspire acquiescence: No one can disagree that children must be protected in this way.
The problem arises when we delve deeper into the means suggested to achieve this goal. Rather than delve into all the idiosyncrasies contained in the report, I will direct you to the analysis that John Goerke provided at Juicy Ecumenism. In summary, the U.N. insists that the Vatican reverse Church teachings on abortion, contraception, the family structure, homosexuality, and normative gender identity; because obviously the way to limit sexual abuse is to ensure that sexual identity is instilled early, indistinctly, and divorced from biological consequences by killing any other children who may arise from the abuse. Anne Hendershott over at Crisis Magazine asks the logical question: “the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child is now lobbying the Catholic Church for the ‘Right of the Child’ to enjoy access to unrestricted sexual behavior. Isn’t this exactly how a small percentage of Catholic clergy got in trouble to begin with?”
Her concern is mine as well. Rape is hard enough to convince people of—look at how many women have been patronizingly told they were “asking for it” or how many men are told “men can’t be raped by women.” By normalizing sexual activity in children, the U.N. will greatly disadvantage children, rather than protect them.
But, I suspect, along with Claudia Rosett in the WSJ that “this treaty has less to do with children” for all the document references to them “than with political power plays, and a fitting reform at the Vatican would be to walk away from it.” That is the disturbance that underlies all this talk of rights and protection: The U.N. has asked the Vatican to reject the Church’s moral position in favor of the popular and progressive opinion espoused by the Committee on the Rights of the Child. This arrogation is rhetorically-clothed in language meant to appeal to the sympathies of cultural custom, while obscuring the means (abortion, contraception, erosion of sexual and gender norms, abolition of anonymous baby drops) and the nature of the end (unrestricted sexual license for children).
The sexual abuse of children is evil. How dare the U.N. employ the pain and suffering of victims, along with the cultural affinity and mores for protecting the innocent, in its political machinations.