Rome – I’ve mentioned the hearings before the U.N. Committee on Torture that the Holy See will be testifying at this upcoming week. What I didn’t mention is the brief filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights arguing on the side of the Holy See being a potential violator of the Convention Against Torture. The Center for Reproductive Rights considers Catholic teaching on contraception and abortion to be akin to torture.
After quoting the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the brief charges: “As the Holy See’s policy on abortion does not permit abortion in any circumstances, it prima facie fails to prevent torture and ill-treatment of women who seek abortion.”
The brief further charges:
Representatives of the Holy See and other church officials have attempted to shame women and guardians of minors who have sought abortions as well as the doctors who have performed them by publicly announcing their excommunications. These actions have both interfered with state efforts to prevent torture or ill-treatment of women and also contributed to torture or ill-treatment by creating severe mental suffering for women who are subjected to public and private derision.
Ludicrous, outrageous, maddening, heartbreaking.
For upholding the dignity of all human life and caring about mothers and their pain, the Holy See is being accused of torture.
Besides the maternity homes and the hospitals and the pastoral care, the Catholic Church is the leading provider of post-abortion healing. To accuse the Church of callousness is to not know Project Rachel, and Lumina, and the Sisters of Life.
Anyone who contributed or nods in ascent to that brief must read Redeeming Grief, Anne Lastman’s testimony from and about post-abortion recovery (read my interview with her here). It’s a painful road, and if you want to talk about torture, let’s talk about what happens in a late-term abortion and what happens to women and men and families missing a child our culture insists isn’t one if we wish it away.
The brief also painstakingly ignores the Catholic Church’s insistence on the human dignity of every man and woman. On a doctor’s table, that means both mother and child. The brief ignores that a mother can be cared for. It’s the insistence that a child be killed that’s the problem. And would that surprise anyone?
And would it surprise anyone that in countries where the majority are Catholic, abortion would be especially looked down upon? The Holy See is seen as some kind of not just torturous but hegemonic enemy because Catholics might just follow Church teaching in the world, in the public square.
The Center for Reproductive Rights shadow report to the U.N. committee betrays its radically stubborn ideology that seeks to eradicate religious freedom — for the U.N., for Catholics running institutions in Poland or the Philippines, for anyone who doesn’t subscribe to sexual revolutionary values.
We live in a world today where children are increasingly forced to grow up without fathers and women are expected to suppress their fertility or end their children’s lives to keep a job and a man. People do heroic things in the world, and the Church wants to help them by simply making proposals. Will the U.N. let itself be used in slapping down the Catholic Church by attacking the Holy See? The radical secularism of our day wants no real religion. It doesn’t tolerate religious freedom. It doesn’t allow for dissent from its libertine gospel. Will the U.N. overstep its boundaries, abuse its power, and allow this committee to be used in such a way? Is the U.N. willing to deal with the consequences to its credibility and even human lives? If the U.N. dares to suggest the Holy See is a perpetrator of torture, as the Center for Reproductive Rights does, Heaven help the Catholic aid worker in Egypt, Syria, or Sudan.