Catholic Campaign: Holy See Cuts Off UNICEF

Thomas Melady

In the States’ Donor Meeting of November 4, 1996, held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the Holy See made public its grave dissatisfaction with UNICEF by noting that it could no longer provide its small, but symbolically important, $2,000 annual contribution to that agency.

In the past UNICEF has relied heavily on the Catholic Church’s Program of Child Pastorate, which alone in thirteen countries in Latin America and the Caribbean provides an invaluable network of more than two hundred thousand field workers. For this reason, UNICEF wants to renew its long-standing agreements with the Latin American and Caribbean Catholic organizations.

The Catholic Church’s collaboration with UNICEF has not, however, been exclusively based on such field- level work. In 1994, the donations collected by various Catholic entities in Canada alone amounted to well over $1 million—to say nothing about individual Canadian Catholic donors whose private gifts cannot be easily calculated.

John Klink, a New York businessman who has served as an adviser to the Holy See Mission for various affairs, including UNICEF over the past nine years, regrets that matters have come to this point.

“The Holy See would be remiss in the fulfillment of its role as a moral voice at the United Nations if it failed to alert those donors who believed that their donations are being used exclusively to fulfill UNICEF’s mandate to meet the basics for children— education, nutrition, health, shelter, etc.—that this is not necessarily the case,” Klink remarked. “Further, recent calls for UNICEF to become a promoter of abortifacients for refugee women has gravely exacerbated the Holy See’s concerns.”

“The Holy See,” Klink stated, “has done everything possible to keep UNICEF prioritized on children. It seems inconceivable that anyone— regardless of their views as regards family planning—should allow UNICEF to be used as a duplicative pawn for those UN agencies which have long had the mandate—and receive government funding for—population activities such as UNPFA, especially in light of UNICEF’s unique dependence on outside donations.”

These developments can be seen as part of a much larger and longer- term strategy on the part of the western states, and particularly the Nordic countries—witnessed in such recent World Conferences as the Cairo population Conference and the Beijing Women’s Conference—to push a sexual liberation, birth control, and abortion agenda on the developing world.

In this case, they are seeking to use the highly successful and respected UNICEF as a Trojan horse filled with Planned Parenthood International foot soldiers poised to swoop down upon their “less-developed” neighbors once UNICEF’s mandate to protect children is removed.

For this reason, the Holy See has sounded an alarm to alert those truly interested in UNICEF continuing the vital role it has played in favor of children, so that they can make their voices heard and their potential donations respected.

Thomas Patrick Melady


Thomas Patrick Melady (born 1927) served as an American ambassador under three presidents and as a sub-cabinet officer for a fourth, and remains active in foreign affairs and international relations. Since 2002, he is Senior Diplomat in residence at The Institute of World Politics in Washington, DC. When he wrote this article in 1984, he was the President of Sacred Heart University.

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