Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Week 20 in Catholic Media, 2014

May 11th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Let’s Turn the Question Around:  Is the U.N. Torturing the Catholic Church?

It is not as wild a question as it sounds.  On May 5th, LifeSiteNews published an article on a UN official equating the Church’s abortion teaching to “TORTURE!”


UN official to Vatican: Catholic teaching on abortion may be a form of ‘torture’


Flying a flag upside down is the international symbol of distress.  If there were ever an organization in distress, it seems to be the UN.

Flying a flag upside down is the international symbol of distress. If there were ever an organization in distress, it seems to be the UN.

“The Holy See’s goal is to prevent children from being tortured or killed before birth, as is stipulated in the Convention,” he said in an outline drawn up before the hearings. “For example, in Canada, 622 living babies were delivered after failed abortion attempts, between 2000 and 2001. 66 such cases were registered in the UK in 2005. Some methods of late-term abortions constitute forms of torture, particularly in the case of dilation and evacuation, where ‘the fetus, still alive, is dismembered to be pulled out of the womb in pieces.’”

“From what I am reading, this is no more than UN propaganda trying to make the Catholic Church seem ‘extreme’ for not advocating for abortion in the case of rape or sexual assault,” abstinence speaker Pam Stenzel, who was conceived in rape, told LifeSiteNews. “It is not news that some members of the UN want abortion access for all women, including minors, and when access is denied they consider that a violation of ‘women’s rights.’”  One of the participants in the hearings told the UN committee the questioning was little more than anti-Catholicism and abortion advocacy masquerading as concern for the vulnerable.  “The Catholic Church is no stranger to persecution and intolerance,” Ashley McGuire of Catholic Voices USA, said in Geneva. “But it is a shame to see [non-governmental organizations] attacking the Church at the UN, some trying to use this committee to advance an ideological agenda, so often because the Church will not change her moral positions.”  McGuire added that the very notion of human rights that guide the committee “would not exist without the contribution of Christianity, without the unique Christian worldview that every human being has an inherent dignity and is worthy of love and respect.”

“I urge the committee to resist the swelling tide of anti-Christian intolerance that demands that the Catholic Church change her canon law and conform to modernity’s callous devaluation of the lives of vulnerable people, or as Pope Francis has put it, ‘our throwaway culture,” McGuire said. “Intolerance has no place within the world body.”  Far from helping victims of rape or sexual assault, abortion deepens their trauma, Stenzel told LifeSiteNews….

This was the second time in recent months that the world body had openly criticized the Holy See’s ancient doctrinal position opposing abortion in all instances. In February, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child similarly chided the Catholic Church, claiming its teachings on abortion and contraception harmed young women and minor girls around the world.

When it became a party to the international document in 2002, the Vatican described the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, as “a valid and suitable instrument for fighting against acts that constitute a serious offence against the dignity of the human person.”


The UN pressures Catholics over curriculum, abortion (Home School Legal Defense Assn.)


May 6, 2014 (HSLDA) – HSLDA has fought on many occasions to stop ratification of United Nations treaties, most recently with our work to defeat the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). While there are many reasons HSLDA opposes the CRPD, one key reason is that the United Nations is openly hostile to religious freedom, the right to life, home school freedom, and parental rights.  (Full article is here.)

This hostility was on full display in a recent report from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (the committee established by the dangerous UN Convention on the Rights of the Child). In the report that was supposed to be a regular review of the progress of the Holy See (the official name of the Vatican State) in implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the committee instead attacked the Catholic Church and the church’s teachings.

The committee wasted no time in using the Convention on the Rights of the Child to pressure the Catholic Church to change its teaching about the family and control what is taught in private classrooms. It urged the Vatican to “refrain from using terminology that could challenge equality between girls and boys” and to “take active measures to ensure that textbooks used in Catholic schools do not contain gender stereotyping that might limit the development of the talents and abilities of boys and girls and undermine their educational and life opportunities.”

Asserting Control

This is nothing less than the UN trying to control what textbooks are used in private parochial schools. If this or other UN treaties were ratified in the U.S., this is evidence that UN committees would try to oversee the textbooks used by homeschool families and how parents teach their children.

The committee then moved on to child rearing and corporal discipline and had this to say about the Bible and the family: “The Committee urges the Holy See to … [a]mend the Canon Law and Vatican City State laws to explicitly prohibit all corporal punishment of children, including within the family … and use its authority to promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing, and ensure that an interpretation of the Scriptures as not condoning corporal punishment is reflected in the teaching and other activities of the Church and incorporated into all theological education and training.”

As if this weren’t enough, the committee then attacked the Catholic Church’s traditional position on the sanctity of human life by urging the Vatican to “review its position on abortion, which places obvious risks on the life and health of pregnant girls, and to amend Canon 1398 [this is the Catholic Church’s teaching that procuring abortion incurs an automatic excommunication] relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

Finally, the committee urged the Vatican to “withdraw all its reservations to the Convention and to ensure that the Convention has precedence over internal laws and regulations.” This is yet another reason why HSLDA has warned against the U.S. Senate ratifying UN treaties like the CRC and CRPD. Even if the Senate were to attach reservations, understandings, and declarations (RUDs) to such a treaty in an attempt to amend problematic sections, the UN would always be pressuring the U.S. to withdraw our reservations. It would be a never-ending battle to protect the RUDs.


The modern UN has become a powerful global player that is hostile to many freedoms that we as Americans and homeschoolers take for granted. UN treaties have become tools used by unelected, power-hungry international bureaucrats to gain control over nations and free peoples.

We cannot forget that this is the same corrupt UN that selected Iran, an international pariah, for a high-level position on the UN Disarmament and International Security Committee. The UN selected Robert Mugabe, a man under an international travel ban for ethnic cleansing, to be a “leader for tourism.” The UN recently drafted the Arms Trade Treaty, which if ratified by the U.S., would gut the Second Amendment and constitutional liberties which we take for granted. And now the UN is coming after the Catholic Church and the family.

Questions to Contemplate

When will Church officials recognize that treaties with secular organizations, especially the UN, represents an unequal yoking that can never succeed?  

When will enough proof be on the table?  

How much persecution will it take to wake-up?


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