GENEVA (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Holy See has condemned the "ideological colonization" of a United Nations report which is demanding the submission of religious-based morality to progressive laws and policies supporting abortion, LGBT rights and gender ideology.
In a strongly-worded statement, Abp. Ivan Jurkovič, the Vatican's permanent observer to the U.N., reiterated that "the Holy See has always understood 'gender' and related terms according to the ordinary, generally accepted usage of the word 'gender,' based on the biological identity that is male and female."
"Particularly unacceptable and offensive are the numerous references that recommend that freedom of religion or belief and conscientious objection must be surrendered for the promotion of other so-called 'human rights,' which certainly do not enjoy consensus," Jurkovič told the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council, Monday in Geneva.
Speaking Monday in Geneva, the Slovenian prelate slammed the U.N. for failing to address the religious persecution of "millions of persons worldwide" and, instead, "pushing a vision of human society that is not shared by all and does not reflect the social, cultural and religious reality of many peoples."
The Holy See notes "the growing influence within the international organizations of powers and interest groups that impose their own visions and ideas, sparking new forms of ideological colonization, often in disregard for the identity, dignity and sensitivities of peoples," Jurkovič stated.
The Vatican's criticism has been provoked by the annual report presented by Ahmed Shaheed, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, which is calling for laws based on religious or traditional morality to be repealed if they conflict with liberal human rights, ideologies and trends, chiefly in the area of gender, sexuality and reproductive rights.
In his 19-page report, titled "Freedom of Religion or Belief," Shaheed uses the term "LGBT+" 62 times and "abortion" 23 times, insisting that "freedom of religion or belief must not be used for ends that are inconsistent with the United Nations Charter or relevant human rights instruments."
"It is rather unfortunate, yet increasingly less surprising given its frequency, that a U.N. report, which should defend the fundamental and universal human right of freedom of religion or belief as well as the right to conscientious objection, is now attacking the very reality it is called to defend," Jurkovič remarked.
The U.N. report deconstructs the definition of gender "as narrowly focused, physiologically based interpretations" and claims a pre-eminence for "international law" which "has further evolved" beyond the traditional and biological basis for "sex."
Shaheed's report castigates religious interest groups for characterizing LGBT+ rights advocates as "immoral actors" who are "seeking to undermine society by espousing 'a gender ideology' that is harmful to children, families, tradition and religion."
It excoriates countries which prohibit homosexuality "on the grounds that it upholds the tenets of Islam or Christianity" and censures four Catholic-dominated countries in Latin America for "complete bans on abortion."
Catholic Poland is singled out for "a campaign by interest groups ... against 'gender ideology,'" for attempting "to change the constitution to define 'the family' according to religiously grounded heterosexual norms" and for "misusing freedom of religion or belief to oppose self-determination rights for gender diverse persons."
Another predominantly Catholic country slated for censure is the Philippines where, according to the report, "the criminalization of abortion and lack of access to contraception is often justified by reference to religious postulates."
"In countries that do not criminalize homosexuality, some religious groups have successfully campaigned against the introduction of schoolbooks on sex education by arguing that the books promoted homosexuality," the report states.
A particular area of concern is the report's repudiation for "conscientious objection by healthcare providers and institutions unwilling to perform abortions or provide access to contraception on religious grounds."
In Uruguay, where nearly half the population identify as Catholic, "women can elect to have an abortion, but in certain regions, up to 87% of medical providers refuse to perform abortions," the report disapprovingly notes, also criticizing Poland, the United States and Kenya for legal "conscience clauses" which make "access to legal abortion effectively unavailable to women in significant parts of the country."
Shaheed's report dovetails "religious tenets" with "pseudoscience" and "traditional values rooted in interpretations of religious teachings about the social roles for men and women in accordance with their alleged naturally different physical and mental capacities."
The U.N. Special Rapporteur uses primary sources from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute (Planned Parenthood's former research arm) to support the proposals in his report. It also openly states its preferential option for "feminist and human rights scholars" who argue that "deference" to the "autonomy and traditions of religious institutions is problematic" and, instead, hails pro-abortion groups like the U.S.-based Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and Poland's #IamLGBT.
Critics have slammed the report for its flawed methodology and disingenuous conflation of concerns from female genital mutilation (FGM), polygamy, marital rape, modesty dress codes, forced veiling, early and forced marriage, treatment of religious, discrimination against religious minorities converts — practiced mostly in exclusively Muslim-dominated countries — with the promotion of abortion, contraception, the LGBT+ agenda, gender reassignment surgery and gender ideology, which seeks to erase the biological categories of male and female.
In 2019, the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education categorically rejected "gender theory," which "denies the difference and reciprocity in nature of a man and a woman and envisages a society without sexual differences, thereby eliminating the anthropological basis of the family."
Gender theory creates "a cultural and ideological revolution driven by relativism" and such ideologies "assert themselves as absolute and unquestionable, even dictating how children should be raised," the document "Male and Female He Created them," affirmed, quoting Pope Francis' unequivocal position on gender ideology.