The Holy See Did Not Commit Torture

….But you already knew that.

Some people did not know that, though; and so the Critics of Anything Roman, always hoping to give the Church a black eye, tried to suggest that the sexual abuse of minors, which is an abomination and a clear violation of Catholic Church teaching, was a form of state-sponsored torture.

Further, they alleged, the Church’s stance in opposition to birth control and abortion is also torture.

No surprises here:  Among the influential nongovernmental organizations which urged the U.N.’s Committee on Torture to condemn the Vatican were the Center for Constitutional Rights, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), and the Center for Reproductive Rights.

The United Nations Committee on Torture recognized these charges as the political ploy they were, and today released an advance unedited version of its Concluding Observations, finding no cause to condemn the Vatican.

This morning, the Vatican Information Service offered this report:

The Committee for the Convention Against Torture (CAT) has released an advance unedited version of its Concluding Observations on the Initial Report of the Holy See. These Observations recognize that the Holy See has made many serious and substantial reforms on its procedures that further advance the principles and objectives of the CAT. The Concluding Observations acknowledge extensively the good faith efforts of the Holy See to comply with and advance the CAT, to institute reforms to prevent sexual abuse, and to compensate and facilitate the care and healing of the victims of sexual abuse.

The report states that the Committee did not find the Holy See in violation of the CAT, and acknowledges that the Holy See and Catholic dioceses and religious orders have instituted important efforts to prevent sexual abuse. The Committee appreciates the open and constructive dialogue with the high-level delegation of the Holy See and notes that many Catholic dioceses and religious orders have provided financial settlements to victims of sexual abuse.

Finally, the Conclusions do not assert that the Church’s efforts to protect the unborn are a form of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under the CAT, thus safeguarding the fundamental human right of freedom of religion and opinion and the protection and promotion of human life.

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