UN + Catholic = Un-Catholic

Yesterday, First Things published this report on Argentine bishop and Vatican official Monsignor Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo’s response to criticism about giving two well-known abortion proponents, United Nations senior advisor Jeffery Sachs and United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-Moon, a platform at a Vatican Conference on Climate Change. While I am sympathetic with the view of one of the comments below the article that we must be willing to listen to people with views different from our own, it is troubling that:

  1. High-profile population control advocates whose positions are clearly and consistently contrary to, and often critical of, the Church’s would be given such prominence in the first place;
  2. As part of the defense of such a choice, a Vatican official would highlight the phrase “sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights” (you don’t need to be an expert in U.N. policy to know exactly what that means); and
  3. The official’s response to criticism and concern about including these two (submitted in writing, so he had time to think about what he wanted to say) is defensive, rambling, and barely coherent.

I admit that I am continuing to search for ways to put articles like this in a positive light, but the only justification I can conceive of for the monsignor’s response is that he failed to predict the level of criticism Sachs and the secretary general would generate and is showing his frustration. That, in itself, would be plenty troubling, and seems far-fetched. A more logical and disturbing explanation comes from this page on the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network website, which places Bishop Sorondo next to Sachs (alphabetically) on the UNSDSN’s Leadership Council. Is the Catholic Church too deeply embedded in a global organization, the goals of which are often clearly contrary to her own?


  1. Didymus says:

    Wow! His replies go beyond defensive, rambling, and incoherent (throw in straw man as well). I am stunned by the blatant, personal, ad hominem attacks that characterize so much of his response. Very disturbing that this man is a senior leader at the Vatican. Maybe he learned this kind of behavior from that great Christian group with which he hobnobs at the U.N. Or perhaps Nancy Pelosi is his model for how a Catholic leader should respond to questions. Even if he thought the questions unfair (they are not), where is mercy in his response, where is “who am I to judge?” This is not making me feel any better about the upcoming encyclical.

  2. Timshel says:

    The Monsignor has responded to the First Things post about the UN and the Vatican: http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2015/06/a-response-from-the-pas … I won’t sort through his response, and what I agree or disagree with, right now. I will say that this is a much better and more articulate reply to the concerns raised. Perhaps this would have been a better approach in the first place?

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