The Vatican is an artificial State inhabited mainly by priests. It was established by the Lateran Treaty in 1929 with the Fascist dictator Mussolini and covers 109 acres in the centre of Rome.
It is extremely powerful and its “moral” crusades adversely affect the lives of millions of people in Europe and in the world.
Officially part of the UN, its “observer-state” status means it engages in UN debates on a variety of issues ranging from favourites, such as birth control, abortion and homosexuality, to the environment, war and global trade.
The Vatican has diplomatic relationships with almost all the Countries in the world (174 when John Paul II died) and in many EU countries they benefit from the support of Catholic politicians or in many cases of Christian political parties.
Of the 27 countries of the European Union, 14 are bound to the Vatican by at least one treaty.
No other religion has such a power in Europe and in the World, thus prompting the Economist to publish an investigation about the diplomatic service of the Vatican, questioning whether it deserves its special status in the UN (21/07/2007)
The Vatican is extremely wealthy. The finances of the Catholic Church are entirely opaque and mired in controversy so no one outside the Church can be sure how wealthy it really is. We do know that the Italian tax payers alone give the Vatican about € 1000 million every year.
A recent estimate (broadcast by the Penn & Teller documentary) put the total of the Catholic Church’s assets at US $50 billion.
The Vatican and the Catholic Hierarchy are responsible for
- opposing the distribution of condoms and so increasing large families in poor countries and the spread of AIDS
- promoting segregated education
- denying abortion to even the most vulnerable women
- opposing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender rights, including universal decriminalisation of homosexuality
- failing to address the many cases of abuse of children within their own organisation.
- rehabilitating holocaust deniers and appeasers like bishop Richard Williamson and the war-time Pope, Pius XII.
On the 15th of March 2011, Keith Porteous Wood, Director of the National Secular Society, in the capacity of international representative of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), made a forthright attack on the Vatican’s deplorable record on child abuse at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Keith called once more upon the Human Rights Council and the Committee on the Rights of the Child to hold the Holy See to account for:
- its breach of its obligations under the CRC;
- its disregard for its duty of care to the abused children;
- its systematic cover-up of thousands of cases of abuse; and
- its failure to adequately control those put in positions of trust with children.
“The Holy See’s grave and extensive breaches of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and its contempt for its reporting obligations over the past thirteen years, should justify its expulsion.”
The chair later said in response to a member state’s objection to another NGOs intervention that, in effect, sometimes it was only the NGOs who were prepared to confront member states with uncomfortable material.