Holy See tells UN: yes to parents’ rights, no to condoms for any reason

From John Smeaton’s blog:

On Tuesday the Holy See (the universal government of the Catholic Church) made an excellent statement to a committee of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Among other things, the statement said that a proposed resolution on the girl child could:

“create a misleading impression that early pregnancy, per se, constitutes a health risk … [W]hat is needed in such cases is prenatal and postnatal healthcare for the mother and her child, especially skilled birth attendants and appropriate emergency obstetric care, as enshrined in Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).”

In other words: abortion is not necessary when young girls become pregnant (something of which Archbishop Fisichella would do well to remind himself).

The statement went on to refer to parents thus (my emphasis in bold):

“[The Holy See] welcomes in this text the inclusion of the role of parents in the upbringing and development of girls, even though the prior and primary responsibility of their parents is not explicitly cited. In matters concerning the upbringing and development of the child, particularly in the area of attitudes and life skills, the measure of the best interests of the child is guaranteed by parental priority, as enshrined in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and reaffirmed in Article 18, 1, of the CRC. Without these guarantees, whatstands between children and the coercive power of the State in those places where serious human rights violations could be inflicted against them?”

In other words, upholding the status of parents as the first and foremost educators of their children is absolutely essential to protect children generally from abortion, infanticide and the violation of their innocence by explicit sex education.

The statement finished with a direct reference to abortion – and a very important reference to condoms* (my emphasis in bold):

“The Holy See reaffirms its reservations with the Resolution, especially regarding its references to “sexual and reproductive health” since the Holy See does not consider abortion or abortion services to be a dimension of such terms and regarding the term “family planning” as the Holy See in no way endorses contraception or the use of condoms, either as a family planning measure or in HIV/AIDS prevention programmes.

The Holy See’s statement echoes the statement by the Catholic bishops of Kenya last December (my emphasis in bold):

“We reiterate and reaffirm that the position of the Catholic Church as regards the use of condoms, both as a means of contraception and as a means of addressing the grave issue of HIV/AIDS infection has not changed and remains as always unacceptable.”

The Holy See’s statement is an official confirmation that the Catholic Church rejects the position taken by Dr Austen Ivereigh and Jack Valero, the coordinators of Catholic Voices, who have falsely claimed that:

  • “[U]rging a promiscuous infected person to at least use a condom … is Catholic pastoral practice” (Dr Ivereigh)
  • “[Using a condom] might be the right and responsible thing to do in order to prevent infection” (Dr Ivereigh)
  • “[I]t is right for schools to teach how condoms help to reduce transmission of STDs.” (Dr Ivereigh)
  • “[The Church has] never said that in a particular case it’s wrong to use a condom to protect somebody … [T]he condom itself may be a good thing” (Mr Valero)
  • “[I]f in a particular case [church workers in Africa] think that a condom will protect then that may be OK” (Mr Valero).

SPUC, whose lobbyists at the UN work closely with the Holy See delegation, congratulates the Holy See on yet another strongly pro-life/pro-family statement (see Pat Buckley’s report on the Holy See’s intervention last month, and Peter Smith’s report on a Holy See statement in November last year on maternal health.)

* Why is the Catholic Church’s teaching on condom use (and dissent from that teaching) important for the pro-life movement? The late Pope John Paul II, the great pro-life champion, taught in paragraph 97 of his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae that it is an illusion to think that we can build a true culture of human life if we do not offer adolescents and young adults an authentic education in sexuality, and in love, and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection.

This entry was posted in Catholic Moral Teaching, Church Teachings, Pro Life and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Holy See tells UN: yes to parents’ rights, no to condoms for any reason

  1. Toadspittle says:


    “…a proposed resolution on the girl child could: ‘create a misleading impression that early pregnancy, per se, constitutes a health risk ‘…”

    Not a physical risk perhaps, but a very high chance of a mental or emotional one. Thinks Toad.
    Toad also thinks a lot of Catholic mentality regarding contraception, (and ‘sin’ in general) – consists of saying, “If only nobody did anything wrong, everything would be all right.” But they don’t, and it isn’t.
    And that’s where we have to start from.
    Girls will get pregnant. Often inadvisedly. Then what. Prevention is better than cure, may be a cliche, but it’s true as well.


  2. Toadspittle says:


    “…upholding the status of parents as the first and foremost educators of their children is absolutely essential to protect children generally from abortion, infanticide and the violation of their innocence by explicit sex education.”

    Parents may idealistically be ‘first and foremost’ but second, and moremost will be – not wicked schoolteachers – but the childrens’ own playmates.
    That’s where Toad learned about sex, anyway. How will the writer protect his children from those influences?

    Don’t send them to school. Don’t let them out to play. Lock them up in a cupboard. Good idea.


  3. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Spookily, this article recalls the Danish king Cnut and the tide.


  4. JabbaPapa says:

    I’m not surprised by this doctrinal position (HIV/AIDS is a transitory evil rather than being a permanent one, so that it cannot be addressed in the doctrine by a permanent teaching of the Church) — but I am once again dismayed that the position is being publicised so aggressively.

    Needlessly so, IMO.

    Yes, the Church must positively teach that reliance on condoms for the purpose of sexual gratifications “without consequences” is wrong, and that the existence of venereal diseases not only does not contradict that teaching, but it reinforces some of the centrally moral and psycho/biological components of that very teaching.

    But this does not alter the fact that in a more casuistic sphere, the coexistence of an irrepressible sexual urge and a venereal disease in an individual can be enough cause to suggest to this person to use a condom. But here of course, we’re not in the sphere of doctrine, but in the utterly private and individual area of personal circumstance, for which no doctrines will ever be written, except for those of Christian Charity.

    The doctrines are accurate, and they certainly need to inform catechesis and so on — but just as the private sphere of individual circumstance is beyond them, so should this public sphere of international political debate be treaded more carefully and more sensitively than the Holy See is wont to do on this issue…


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