Kicking the Church Out of the UN

A nasty Norwegian diplomat at the UN frequently badmouths the Holy See. He wonders why Holy See diplomats are allowed into the room during negotiations. He says outright that the Holy See ought to leave. This has happened more than once.

It’s amusing a Norwegian would say such a thing. The development of Norway is rather murky and it is hard to figure when Norway really became Norway. Norwegians might claim it was when Harald Fairhair unified disparate tribes and clans in 872 after the Battle of Hafrsfjord. Even so, it is questionable when the people living there began to understand themselves to be something called Norwegians from a place called Norway.

By this supposed beginning of Norway in 872 the Holy See had been sending out diplomatic legations for 400 years. So, the question becomes, where does this Norwegian pipsqueak get the moxie to say the Holy See should not participate in a meeting of diplomats?

He is likely not the only diplomat who thinks this, but the smarter ones keep it to themselves. And there is little doubt some UN agencies, most especially the abortion-crazed UN Population Fund, would like to see the Holy See exit from the negotiating rooms.

 

And then there is that vicious and tiny group of dissident Catholics that has renewed a long-failed campaign to kick the Holy See out of the UN. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has condemned Catholics for Choice (CFC), founded as Catholics for a Free Choice, at least twice.

They started CFC as a stick in the eye of the Church. The Church has been and remains the only institutional bulwark against abortion and much else. Rich foundations like Ford and Rockefeller determined long ago that the opposition of the Church had to be muted so they assisted in the formation and the funding of groups like CFC.

Quite obviously the influence of the Church did not win the abortion debate in the United States though she has never given up and any rollback of abortion can be credited to her efforts. When the abortion debate went international and decamped to the UN, abortion proponents had the Church there waiting for them where the Church has been active as a sovereign state from the beginning.

Starting at the Cairo Conference in 1994 the Church has been able to block an international right to abortion. Working with a coalition of friendly states and a broad network of pro-life groups from around the world, the Holy See has consistently handed CFC, the Norwegians, the UN Population Fund and all the other uglies at the UN defeat after defeat. This makes them angry.

CFC tried to kick the Church out of the UN 13 years ago. Their See-Change Campaign started, sputtered and died. Pro-lifers countered with a campaign of their own that saw more than 4,000 groups from all over the world endorsing the Holy See at the UN. This included the largest Protestant and Muslim groups in the world. The US Congress actually passed a resolution endorsing the Holy See at the UN that passed unanimously minus one.

What are their arguments for kicking the Church out of the UN? Principally, because the Church is a religion and no other religion has such status at the UN. That is true. They go on to say the Holy See does not even qualify for such status because it does not meet the qualifications for membership including a defined territory, a population and a government that is able to govern the territory and is recognized by other states.

CFC knows the Holy See actually meets these qualifications. There is Vatican City, after all, which has both a population and a government. And the Holy See trades diplomats with most Member States of the UN and has traded diplomats longer than all Member States with the possible exception of China.

CFC snarkily asserts that Vatican City is too small. Sure Vatican City is small but so are Member States Tuvalu (9 square miles), and Nauru (8.5 square miles). Monaco at .7 square miles is only slightly larger than Vatican City.

The real reason CFC is running this campaign is to raise money. Former president Frances Kissling, who famously said she searched the world for a government to overthrow and finally found it in the Vatican, stepped down several years ago and the reins were taken over by angry Irishman Jon O’Brien who looks a little bit like Beelzebub. The funds began to dry up and they are down 19% since he took over.

Will the campaign be successful? Will CFC get the Vatican kicked out of the UN? Not a chance. No UN Member State would ever consider such a crazy idea. But that is not the purpose. Other than raising money, CFC hopes their little campaign will intimidate the Vatican, scare the Vatican into quieting down, so that an international right to abortion may proceed apace.

But there is little chance of that, even with Pope Francis suggesting that the Church should not obsess so much about abortion. Nobody but CFC thinks this means the Church is out of the pro-life business.

What’s more, there is another Francis involved, Francis Chullikatt, Apostolic Nuncio to the UN who is a fearless fighter for the unborn child. Rather than caving on abortion at the UN, he has even been fighting to have the term “reproductive health” removed from UN documents. He is very much taking the fight to the other side.

Chullikatt came to the UN as Nuncio to Baghdad. Yes, Baghdad, where his driver was kidnapped and killed, where his house was sometimes guarded by tanks. Chullikatt can easily and breezily face down the nitwits from CFC and even that sorry diplomat from Norway.

Austin Ruse

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Austin Ruse is president of C-FAM (Center for Family & Human Rights), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute. He is the author of Fake Science: Exposing the Left’s Skewed Statistics, Fuzzy Facts, and Dodgy Data published by Regnery and Little Suffering Souls: Children Whose Short Lives Point Us to Christ published by Tan Books. The views expressed here are solely his own.

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