Rorate Caeli

Excerpts of the report of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child on the Holy See

Promotion of homosexuality:

25. The Committee welcomes the information provided by the Holy See during the interactive dialogue that it has initiated a review of its legislation with a view to withdrawing the discriminatory expression “illegitimate children” which can still be found in Canon Law, in particular Canon 1139. While also noting as positive the progressive statement delivered in July 2013 by Pope Francis, the Committee is concerned about the Holy See’s past statements and declarations on homosexuality which contribute to the social stigmatization of and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adolescents and children raised by same sex couples.
26. The Committee recommends that the Holy See bring all its laws and regulations, as well as its policies and practices, in conformity with article 2 of the Convention and promptly abolish the discriminatory classification of children born out of wedlock as illegitimate children. The Committee also urges the Holy See to make full use of its moral authority to condemn all forms of harassment, discrimination or violence against children based on their sexual orientation or the sexual orientation of their parents and to support efforts at international level for the decriminalisation of homosexuality.
Promotion of "Gender theories":

27. With reference to its previous concern on gender-based discrimination (CRC/C/15/Add.46, para. 8), the Committee regrets that the Holy See continues to place emphasis on the promotion of complementarity and equality in dignity, two concepts which differ from equality in law and practice provided for in article 2 of the Convention and are often used to justify discriminatory legislation and policies. The Committee also regrets that the Holy See did not provide precise information on the measures taken to promote equality between girls and boys and to remove gender stereotypes from Catholic schools textbooks as requested by the Committee in 1995.

28. The Committee urges the Holy See to adopt a rights-based approach to address discrimination between girls and boys and refrain from using terminology that could challenge equality between girls and boys. The Committee also urges the Holy See to take active measures to remove from Catholic schools textbooks all gender stereotyping which may limit the development of the talents and abilities of boys and girls and undermine their educational and life opportunities.
Promotion of abortion

55. The Committee urges the Holy See to review its position on abortion which places obvious risks on the life and health of pregnant girls and to amend Canon 1398 relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services can be permitted.
Promotion of contraception and sexual immorality

56. The Committee is seriously concerned about the negative consequences of the Holy See’s position and practices of denying adolescents’ access to contraception, as well as to sexual and reproductive health and information.

57. With reference to its general comments No. 15 (2013) on the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, No. 4 (2003) on adolescent health and No.3 (2003) on HIV/AIDS and the rights of the child, the Committee reminds the Holy See of the dangers of early and unwanted pregnancies and clandestine abortion which result notably in high maternal morbidity and mortality in
adolescent girls, as well as the particular risk for adolescents girls and boys to be infected with and affected by STDs, including HIV/AIDs. The Committee recommends that the Holy See :

(a) Assess the serious implications of its position on adolescents’ enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and overcome all the barriers and taboos surrounding adolescent sexuality that hinder their access to sexual and reproductive information, including on family planning and contraceptives, the dangers of early pregnancy, the prevention of HIV/AIDS and the prevention and treatment of sexually
transmitted diseases (STDs); ... .

Holy See response:

The Holy See does, however, regret to see in some points of the Concluding Observations an attempt to interfere with Catholic Church teaching on the dignity of human person and in the exercise of religious freedom.