Loading
Critic: UN abortion controversy shows push to exclude Catholics
Felice Gaer speaks during a panel on January 21, 2013. Credit: Chatham House via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).
Felice Gaer speaks during a panel on January 21, 2013. Credit: Chatham House via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- U.N. anti-torture committee member Felice Gaer’s statement to a Holy See delegation equating opposition to abortion and torture is part of a growing trend to exclude Catholics and other pro-life advocates, one critic says.

“That our country’s own representative at a United Nations committee would seek to intimidate the diplomatic face of the world’s largest religious institution is profoundly troubling,” Ashley McGuire, a senior fellow with The Catholic Association, said in a May 28 opinion column for Real Clear Religion.

She charged that Gaer, the vice-chair of the United Nations’ Committee on the Convention Against Torture, is “now a part of efforts directly targeting one of the Catholic Church's most deeply-held beliefs: that life begins at conception and that all human life has inherent dignity and is worthy of protection.”

Gaer, a U.S. appointee named by the Obama administration, questioned the Holy See delegation during May 5-6 hearings in Geneva about the Holy See’s adherence to the Convention Against Torture.

Gaer told apostolic nuncio Archbishop Silvano Tomasi and the Holy See delegation that her committee has found that criminalizing abortion in all circumstances can violate the anti-torture convention. She asked the delegation to respond to criticisms that its position against abortion requires pregnant nine-year-olds to give birth.

According to McGuire, who was at the hearings, Gaer used her position to “stare the papal nuncio of the Holy See in the face and threaten him, saying that to be pro-life is to be pro-torture.”

The Catholic commentator said Gaer’s comments sent the message “back off abortion or we will hold you in violation of the Convention Against Torture.”

McGuire said that it is “not really surprising” that an Obama appointee who self-describes as “fiercely pro-choice” would use her position to “violate the religious liberty of the Catholic Church by threatening and pressuring the Catholic Church to abandon her moral teaching.”

However, she lamented increasing pressure from the U.S. government to exclude Catholics and other pro-life advocates from the public and private sectors.

“Once a country that welcomed religious diversity into an open space of mutual respect, our society is now increasingly beholden to a new intolerance that pushes the multitude of values and beliefs that color our nation into dark and silent corners,” McGuire said.

While the anti-torture committee “backed away from Gaer’s extremist line of questioning,” affirmed that the Church did not violate the convention and recognized the Church had made reforms to combat sex abuse, McGuire said the incident was “shocking” in light of Gaer’s past stands for religious freedom.

Before being named to the committee, Gaer “made a name for herself as a religious liberty activist and a staunch opponent of anti-Semitism.”

Gaer, in her role as a human rights advocate for the American Jewish Committee, warned about the historical progression of anti-Semitism beginning with the unjust exclusion of Jews from society.

McGuire said that Gaer, as a former chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, “vocally defended the principle of religious liberty” and affirmed that “no one should be subject to coercion” that might impair the freedom to hold religious beliefs.

“Why then, does she now exclude the pro-life view and the entire Catholic Church from this standard?” McGuire asked, noting that abandoning the consistent anti-abortion position would be to abandon Catholicism.








 

Tags: United Nations, Torture, Holy See

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
Dec
17

Liturgical Calendar

December 17, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Gospel
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Gen 49: 2, 8-10
Gospel:: Mt 1: 1-17

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
12/15/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Homily
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14