Dissident Catholics Assail Vatican Role at UN

A group of activist Roman Catholics asked the United Nations Thursday to revoke the Vatican's observer status for failing to protect the rights of women, children and the LGBTQ community.

The group, calling itself Catholics for Human Rights, said in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that the Vatican must be stripped of its status in part because of the "magnitude of rape, sexual violence and torture perpetrated by clergy."

The activists, including lawyers and theologians, also said the Holy See excludes women from positions of authority and opposes contraception, same-sex marriage and abortion. In Rome, the Vatican did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

U.N. chief spokesman Stephane Dujarric said it had no immediate reaction. Any change in the Vatican's status would have to be decided by U.N. member states.Catholics who disagree with the church's teachings on abortion or who have been upset at its handling of sexual misconduct allegations have previously made similar demands for the U.N. to downgrade the Vatican's status as a permanent observer, which allows it to take part in the world body's policy discussions, but does not give it a vote in the General Assembly. Read more via AP

Open Letter from Catholics for Human Rights to United Nations Secretary-General Calling for Revocation of Nonmember State Permanent Observer Status from the Roman Catholic Church

Dear Mr. Secretary-General, We are members of Catholic organizations and networks who have come together to urge that you revoke the status of Nonmember State Permanent Observer from the Holy See - the administrative arm of the Roman Catholic Church. For the reasons set out below, we believe this is in your power and that it is urgent and imperative that you do so.