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State Department Lies about the Holy See Print E-mail
By Austin Ruse   
Friday, 25 March 2011

Latin American delegations to the United Nations are saying a U.S. State Department employee mislead them last week about the Vatican’s stance on a controversial declaration about sexual orientation. They say the State Department representative told them that the Vatican supported a “joint statement” calling for “sexual orientation and gender identity” to be new categories of non-discrimination in international law. Some of these delegations actually believed her and signed the statement.

Of course, the Vatican does not and did not support such a statement, in fact actively opposed the statement. Such subterfuge against the Holy See at the United Nations is not new.

During the 1994 Cairo Conference, Vice President Al Gore met with the Holy See delegation to get their assurance that the Vatican would “negotiate in good faith,” meaning they would sign on to the eventual document, and “reserve” on any points of disagreement. With assurances in hand, Gore then met with the press and said after meeting with the Holy See he was convinced they were “negotiating in bad faith.”

Why such ongoing kerfuffles and outright deceit surrounding a sovereign personality with hardly any land, hardly any citizens, and only an Observer Seat at the United Nations? One is tempted to say simply: moral suasion. The Church still has a lot of moral authority that countries Catholic, formerly Catholic, and non-Catholic still listen to. And all that would be true. An unbroken string of morally gigantic popes has also helped.

      Cardinal Renato Martino

The Holy See is also seen as an honest negotiating partner because it has no geopolitical designs. Rather than seeking the advantage over other countries, the Holy See tends to seek even-handed justice. Moreover, the Holy See does not ask for development aid, military aid, or aid of any kind. Neither does the Vatican provide that kind of aid and, therefore, also withhold it for political deals. What this means is that the Holy See representative is no kind of threat. 

Much, if not all, of the deceit and enmity aimed at the Holy See comes in the reproductive health and rights debate. It is where and when the ugly claws and bared teeth of the pelvic left, both governmental and non-governmental, come into play.

Many years ago, John Paul II created an opposing force to the Clinton Administration, the European Union, and all of their allies in the pro-abortion world. At Cairo, this coalition delivered, if not a complete walloping, at least 90 percent of one. The other side has never gotten over it. They likely thought they could get explicit language in favor of a right to abortion. JPII and his Muslim allies along with vestigial Catholic countries put enough diplomatic fannies in seats that they were able to block much of what the left wanted to do.

The “Unholy Alliance”, as it was called by the New York Times, would never have been possible without the leadership of the Holy See. The abortion advocates know this, too, which is why they have fought so hard and so long to have the Holy See kicked out of the United Nations. It is also why the various U.N. agencies have developed whole programs to counter religious objections to the reproductive rights agenda.

         The necessity of Holy See leadership has never waned. Many countries are quite willing to follow the Holy See. They are even willing to follow from the front, that is, be the first government to speak in negotiations and even be the most vociferous – just as long as the Holy See will be the fifth to speak or the tenth, and that the Holy See will be counted on to speak and will never waver. 

         Archbishop Francis Chullikatt

The long-time Nuncio at the United Nations was a man named Renato Martino, now a Cardinal and retired in Rome. Martino was not much liked by political conservatives in America. He was outspoken in his opposition to the war in Iraq and said some questionable things about just war not existing anymore. But, Martino was a street fighter when it came to defending the unborn child and the family. He and his chief negotiator, a layman named John Klink, never wavered, not even for a second. They made real the desire of John Paul II to stop an international right to abortion.

There is a new Nuncio in New York, much in the mold of Cardinal Martino. His name is Archbishop Francis Chullikatt. He was at the Holy See Mission when Martino was there and in 2006 went off to be the Nuncio in Baghdad of all places. He was there during the worst of it. At one point, tanks guarded his residence.

Chullikatt is a gentle man with a spine of steel. He inherits a much-degraded debate. Reproductive health is widely accepted by the U.N. community. Even our friends don’t want to fight on that anymore. There is great fatigue among them. The sexual orientation debate is heating up to a boiling point and is being framed as simply a defense against violence aimed at homosexuals, though it is much more than that. At the same time, the moral suasion of the Church has been weakened because of the plague of sex scandals. 

What we know is this. The delegations of the United Nations are willing to listen to the Holy See. Moreover, they are willing to follow if the Holy See leads. The exciting part of what is happening now is that this gentle yet steely man Chullikatt is going to lead. And you can count on the United States and the European Union telling even more lies about the Holy See.

Austin Ruse is the President of the New York and Washinton, D.C.-based Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), a research institute that focuses exclusively on international social policy. The opinions expressed here are Mr. Ruse’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of C-FAM.

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Comments (11)Add Comment
written by Greg Byrne, March 25, 2011
Most of the developed western countries have "lost the plot" big time when it comes to these issues. What they say reflects what goes on in their own countries as far as "abortion rights" are concerned. They get away with it because the media is on side with them. Joseph Goebbels was an amateur compared the most mainstream journalists today. They are masters of deception and misrepresentation.
written by Bill, March 25, 2011
Thank you for referring to "JP II and his Muslim allies..." Mr. Ruse. They surely have been paying a price for it since then haven't they? "I did not invade Iraq and take Baghdad because it would destabilize the region." Pres. Bush I
written by Thomas C. Coleman, Jr., March 25, 2011
Mr. Bill, would please clarity your remarks? Who is the antecedent of the pronoun "They" which begins your second sentence. Who is a paying a price? Is it JPII's "Muslim allies" who are paying a price by being invaded? Or are you referring to the horrendous treament of Christians in the Muslim world? Maybe I'm just to dense to grasp the obvious.
written by valwayne, March 25, 2011
Lies out of the Obama administration! That's hardly a surprise and hardly worth an article by now!
written by Dan Deeny, March 25, 2011
You might want to write an article on Amb. Diaz. He has an interesting history.
written by Patrick Lahey, March 26, 2011
I think there is a missed question as to why the Latin American delegations are relying on the US delegation for information about the stance of the Holy See. It should be perfectly obvious to them by now that the US will not genuinely represent the Vatican's interests. They appear to be foolish and naive by accepting advice from such a counter-interested source.
The Dan Deeny comment interests me. Is Diaz 'interesting' for loyalty to the Church, or for dissent? A few words on this from Deeny might be better than waiting for an eventual articel.
written by Bill, March 26, 2011
Mr. Coleman: There are two major wars being fought in the world today- One war is against Catholicism and its ally the Evangelicals. The other war is being fought against its other ally Islam for the same reason. They do not accept contraception and abortion and therefore they are disrupting the new world order. The Main Stream Media accepts both of the vices I mention and therefore it paints Catholicism as little more than priest-predators and the Muslims as terrorists and bogeymen. The Vatican warned G W Bush that to invade Iraq would be "illegal and immoral", but he invaded anyway. We admit that at least 100,000 Iraqis were killed and two million forced to flee to other countries.Compare that to the suffering of Christians throughout the world.
In addition we have the ongoing (100 year) plight of the Palestinians.
written by Grump, March 26, 2011
Government Lies; now there's a dog-bites-man story if I've ever seen one. : )
written by Joseph D'Hippolito, March 26, 2011
As somebody who supported the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq, let me remind you of a few things:

1. The Muslim world's treatment of Christians has nothing to do with Saddam Hussein. It has to do with Islam itself viewing Christians and Jews as second-class citizens. Look at how Christians are being treated in Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan and Iran, for starters. What do any of those situations have to do with Iraq?

2. Does the fact that Saddam butchered Kurds, put people in wood shredders and used chemical weapons against his own people bother you? Or does that throw your anti-Bush rhetoric off track?

3. If the Holy See is so concerned about Middle Eastern Christians, then why does it continue "dialogue" with a partner (Islam) that has absolutely no interest in what the last two Popes called "reciprocity"?

4. The Holy See's relations with Islam are geopolitically problematic.

5. May I also remind you that JPII opposed the 1990-91 invasion of Iraq, which was an international, UN-based coalition designed to extricate Saddam from Kuwait. Had the world listened to the late Pope, Saddam would have annexed Kuwait and been encouraged to attack Saudi Arabia...thereby ensuring that far more casualties, military and civilian, would have ensued.
written by Bill, March 26, 2011
The serious reader may want to look up April Glaspie who was the US ambassador to Iraq in 1989 and who met with Saddam on July 25, 1990 as he wanted to bring Kuwait, a province of Iraq which been removed by the British during their mandate, back into Iraq control.
She is quoted by the NYTimes of 9/23/90 as saying to Saddam "We have no opinion of Arab-Arab conflicts" and "The Kuwait issue is not associated with America." The meeting was called as his armies were on the northern border of Kuwait. They invaded on 8/2/90. The charge was the US had set him up as we had been his ALLY when he was in an eight year war with Iran which had just ended. We had allowed French and German companies to sell him nerve gas during the war with Iran.
written by Dan Deeny, March 29, 2011
Patrick Lahey,
Thank you for your response. Amb. Diaz was a supporter of Gov. Sebelius in Kansas. She is a Catholic who supports the abortion business.
Someone may want to interview Amb. Diaz and pin him down on his specific opinions on the abortion business.

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