United Nations Children’s Rights Commission & The Holy See.

In February 2014 the United Nations spoke specifically on the rights of children of priests. On the right to know and be cared for by parents, the United Nations have stated as follows:

“33. The Committee is concerned about the situation of children fathered by Catholic priests, who, in many cases, are not aware of the identity of their fathers. The Committee is also concerned that the mothers may obtain a plan for regular payment from the Church until the child is financially independent only if they sign a confidentiality agreement not to disclose any information about the child’s father or the plan.

34. The Committee recommends that the Holy See assess the number of children fathered by Catholic priests, find out who they are take all necessary measures to ensure that the rights of those children to know and to be cared for by their fathers is respected, as appropriate. The Committee also recommends that the Holy See ensure that churches no longer impose confidentiality agreements as a condition to providing mothers with financial plans to support their children.”

The UNCRC wrote to the Irish Bishops in 2014 reflecting these concerns, to view this letter, please click here.

UNCRC January 2014 United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child Delegation of the Holy See transcript of the questions from the Committee and the answers of the Holy See’s delegation

“And there is a very peculiar question when it comes to specifically vulnerable groups of children: the children of priests. In many parts of the world, it’s becoming quite visible and known and in some parts of the world more acceptable than others. So I’m just wondering: how do you see their position in a family context?” – Dr. M. Herczog.

“The – some question regards what to do with the children of priests: well, whatever the responsibility of the individual is according to the state and the natural responsibility that comes from fathering children, this responsibility has to be taken up, no matter what the condition of the man who fathered the children. I think we need to, again, go back to the principle that the priority has to be given to children and their future. So, no question that the children have to take precedence. The fact that priests should be judged according to common justice for their crimes: this has never been contested by the Holy See or anybody else as far as I know. And therefore if a priest commits a crime in relation to the convention, or other types of crimes, he can and should be judged according to the country of which he is a citizen. So – this – I don’t think there is a great difficulty with that.” – Holy See Head of Delegation.

Ffor a full transcript of questions, please click here.

This is a copy of a letter issued by the United Nation’s Children’s Rights Commission to the Irish Catholic Bishops following publication of the United Nation’s Concluding Observations on the Second Periodic Report of the Holy See. Though addressed to the Vice President of the Irish Catholic Episcopal Conference, the United Nation’s Children’s Rights Commission Chair Professor Kirsten Sandberg confirmed that this letter may be applied “in other respects” also. Thus this letter is addressed to the entire Catholic Church and Episcopal Conferences as well as Religious Congregations, male and female, worldwide.

United Nation’s Children’s Rights Commission.

The United Nations Commission concluded it’s 2014 Concluding Observations as follows:

The Committee invites the Holy See to submit its combined third to sixth periodic report by 1 September 2017, and to include in it information on the implementation of the present concluding observations.

Coping International wrote to the Permanent Observer of the United Nations to the Holy See requesting what response it will issue to the UNCRC prior to the specified date, regarding the recommendations of the United Nation’s Children’s Rights Commission? The Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN responded as follows:

[The Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations] will need to make consultations before releasing something important in writing. Especially on important issues, as the present one. […] You should be aware that we, as an embassy to the UN, depend on our superiors in Rome. So as soon as we will have a response for [Coping International], we will immediately let you know. […] I hope you can be patient on this. Best regards and God bless you for your interest. – On Behalf of the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations.

Coping International looks forward to hearing what responses will be prepared for the 2017 Holy See Response to the UNCRC 2014 Concluding Recommendations.

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