Wednesday, February 5, 2014
What is the UN thinking?
There was big news today about the United Nations' report on sexual abuse within the Catholic Church and its handling—and often mishandling—of the matter in areas across the globe.
Had the UN stuck to that subject, it could have done us all a favor. The reality of sexual abuse in any setting is serious—I have seen from loved ones something of the toll it can take. For Catholics the subject is especially upsetting given that members of the Church succumbed to the same ills as we find elsewhere.
But the UN personnel that chastised the Church weren't content with the issue at hand. They had to use the opportunity to preach to the Church about Catholic teachings on abortion and artificial birth control.
The entire matter, including the Church’s official response, is chronicled at Catholic World Report. What I’d add here is this: the United Nations is a rather important entity for the coordination and encouragement of global ecological awareness and responses. For Catholics engaged in environmental protection, today’s attack by the UN over sacred issues of life have damaged the credibility of the international body at a time when partnerships are vital for protecting the planet and its peoples.
That elements within the UN would needlessly damage its relation with the Church is unconscionable. That others would allow this to happen is even more disturbing. But perhaps all this is understandable, given that the Church might be seen by some within the UN as a competitor in doing good—the Church is, after all, a two-millennia-old global entity that also works for peace, justice, and the protection of natural laws.
The Church has survived every human construct it has encountered and it will outlast the UN. But in this critical time of increasing climate change and biodiversity loss, the UN would do well to build its relationship with Catholics, especially those engaged in the front lines of helping the poor, the displaced, and the planet.
If they did foster this relationship, then those in the UN charged with environmental stewardship might learn this lesson: it is impossible to be pro-abortion and pro-ecology. One either defends and nurtures life or one does not.
And so I hope and pray that certain members of the UN will come to their senses, step off their soap boxes, and build unity rather than erect walls. I am not convinced that this will happen, but one can always hope for the best in people while at the same time preparing for the worst.