Vatican Schools United Nations on Sexual Morality

by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  •  June 15, 2016   

Holy See corrects UN's position on abortion, contraception, gender and parental rights

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NEW YORK ( - The United Nations (UN) was set straight by the Holy See last week in the UN's push for abortion, contraception, gender ideology and negation of parental rights — all under the guise of population control.

The clarifications regarding Church teaching were presented last week to the UN by Abp. Bernardino Auza, Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See Mission to the United Nations. Archbishop Auza took the UN to task over immoral phraseology contained in its recent document "Political Declaration: On the Fast-Track to Accelerate the Fight Against HIV and to End the AIDS Epidemic by 2030." The day after the UN released this declaration, Abp. Auza responded with the the Vatican's objections.

In his address, Auza focused on the UN's push for population control in the areas of abortion, contraception, gender ideology and negation of parental rights.

In its declaration, the UN uses the terms "sexual and reproductive health," "sexual and reproductive health-care services," and "reproductive rights," observed Auza. Responding to this terminology, he clarified, "The Holy See does not consider abortion, access to abortion, or access to abortifacients as a dimension of these terms."

The UN uses the terms "contraception," "commodities," "condom use" and other terms regarding family planning services and regulation of fertility concepts in the document, noted the archbishop.

[T]he Holy See reaffirms its well-known position concerning those family planning methods which the Catholic Church considers morally acceptable and, on the other hand, family planning services which do not respect the freedom of spouses, human dignity and the human rights of those concerned.

The archbishop then reminded the UN that neither abortion nor contraception are considered rights by the Catholic Church. He backed up this claim by referencing UN-sponsored gatherings where this was clarified, including the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).

Drawing on this conference in Cairo, Abp. Auza stated,

[M]y delegation understands, in accordance with the ICPD 1.15, that no new rights or human rights were created, that recourse to abortion may never be had for purposes of family planning (7.24), and that abortion is a matter to be determined in accordance with national legislation (8.25).

Auza moved on to address the UN's push for gender ideology. "With reference to 'gender,' the Holy See understands the term to be grounded in the biological sexual identity and difference that is male or female," he remarked. Regarding the UN's use of the term "gender norms," he clarified that the Holy See "does not recognize the idea that gender is socially constructed." The archbishop affirmed natural law and Church teaching that "gender recognizes the objective identity of the human person as born male or female."

The archbishop closed by upholding the rights of parents as primary teachers of their children, especially in the areas of sex education, highlighting use of the terms "comprehensive education" or "information" on sexual and reproductive health.

He responded to this terminology by reiterating Church teaching, which upholds "the 'primary responsibility' and the 'prior rights' of parents when it comes to the education and upbringing of their children."

Archbishop Auza noted that these principles are enshrined in former UN documents, namely, the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" and the "Convention on the Rights of the Child." The archbishop clarified regarding these documents, "In that sense, the Holy See wishes to underline the centrality of the family, as well as the role and rights and duties of parents to educate their children."


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