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CONSCIENCE. 2001 Winter; 21(4):20-4.During international conferences, the Holy See often goes against the overwhelming consensus of Member States and seeks provisions in international documents that would limit the health and rights of all people, but especially women. To this effect, many questions have been raised about the role of the Catholic Church at the UN. It is noted that the Holy See owes its participation in the UN to the membership of Vatican City in the Universal Postal Union and the International Telecommunication Union, which qualifies the Holy See to become a Non-member State Permanent Observer at the UN. However, it is emphasized that the Holy See is not a state, only the government of the Roman Catholic Church. Hence, it should not participate in the UN as a state, but as a religion. Hundreds of organizations and thousands of people worldwide have initiated a campaign to change the status of the Roman Catholic Church at the UN. These people believe that the Holy See, as the government of the Roman Catholic Church, should participate in the UN in the same way as the world's other religions--as a nongovernmental organization. The "See Change" Campaign is a global effort coordinated by Catholics for a Free Choice seeking a review of the Holy See's special UN status.
In: Catholic voices at one with the Cairo consensus. A dossier prepared for the five-year review of the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development, [compiled by] Catholics for a Free Choice. Washington, D.C., Catholics for a Free Choice, . 4 p..This paper focuses on the Holy See, Vatican City, and the Roman Catholic Church at the UN. To differentiate the three, the Roman Catholic Church is a religious society without a political identity under the law. The Vatican City is an independent city-state within Rome that serves as the site of the Church government and is itself governed by the head of the Church, the pope, and the Holy See is the supreme organ of both the Catholic Church and the Vatican City. Although not a state, the Holy See is treated in the same footing as a state because of the influence the pope has on Catholics worldwide. It is the Holy See that is active in the UN and maintains full diplomatic relations with 157 countries. The Holy See and Switzerland are the only two among numerous UN observers holding the status as states. A state must be a member of at least one specialized agency of the UN system, must be generally recognized by the UN member states, and must apply to the UN secretary general for the status to become a Permanent Observer. With this influence, therefore, religious groups can, in a way, obstruct the advancement of the projects of the UN like the Cairo Conference.
In: Catholic voices at one with the Cairo consensus. A dossier prepared for the five-year review of the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development, [compiled by] Catholics for a Free Choice. Washington, D.C., Catholics for a Free Choice, . 7 p..This paper presents a chronology of church action to block the Cairo implementation from December 1994 to August 1998. The Cairo Program of Action emphasizes the right of all couples and individuals to decide freely on the number, timing and spacing of their children and to exercise free and informed choices. Since then, religious groups have blocked efforts to implement the Cairo agreements which include sex education and the HIV/AIDS prevention programs. Although not comprehensive, this paper enumerates incidents that were publicly made by the religious group in obstructing the Cairo plan giving a citation of the relevant section from the Cairo Program of action at the end of each chronology entry. Despite agreement between Cairo delegates and the Catholic church during the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, religious leaders continued to obstruct advancement of the Program of Action and making it harder for the Cairo vision to be realized.
Washington, D.C., Catholics for a Free Choice, Catholic Voices, . , 54 p.This discussion paper focuses on the Catholic Voices, an international forum on issues of population and development. This paper proves that Catholics can and should support the Program of Action. Part 1 shows areas of the Program of Action. Part 2 shows how positions taken by the Vatican at Cairo on a number of key reproductive and sexual health issues did not accurately reflect the richness and diversity of church tradition. It is on this issue that the global community strove to educate the Church. Moreover, it is on these issues that the Vatican delegates at Cairo held rigidly to the current conservatism fostered by Pope John Paul II. Finally, conclusion in the form of a theological reflection is offered to analyze the behavior of the Vatican at Cairo on the areas of disagreement.
CONSCIENCE. 1999 Summer; 20(2):2-5.This article provides an information on the role and position of the Roman Catholic Church in the UN. The Roman Catholic Church was elected to participate in the UN as the "Holy See". The "Holy See" is the supreme organ of government of the Catholic Church with the pope designated as its head under the Code of Canon Law, with the Vatican City regarded as its "vassal" territory. Unlike any other modern nation, the Vatican City does not support its citizen; rather it provides a base for the central administration of the Roman Catholic Church. The "Holy See" was regarded as a "nonmember state" in the UN. Pope Paul VI established the first Holy See "permanent observer mission" on March 21, 1964. When the Holy See was admitted as a nonmember state permanent observer, it maintained delegates at specialized agencies such as the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Council for Cultural Cooperation of the Council of Europe. The status of the Holy See as a state under the International Law was uncertain because it has not satisfied the modern definition of a nation, which has: 1) a permanent population; 2) a defined territory; 3) a government; and 4) the capacity to enter into relations with the other states.
INTEGRATION. 1999 Summer; (60):28.Since the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), the Philippine government has worked closely with nongovernmental and peoples' organizations to push reforms which promote development which is broad-based, sustainable, and focused upon human resources. These initiatives recognized the important role of population and human development, and try to achieve rapid economic growth while protecting the environment. The government worked closely with civil society to draft a medium-term development plan for 1993-98 to improve the quality of life for all Filipinos. Reproductive health will be an important component of the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan for 1999-2004. However, the necessary resources must be mobilized to carry out all elements of the program of action. Since the ICPD, total funding for reproductive health and family planning reached Philippine P 1 billion, of which 58% was provided by the foreign donor community. So far, the Philippine government has been blocked by the Catholic Church from allocating more public funds for contraception. Local government units need to take a more direct and active role in implementing rural health programs in general and reproductive health programs in particular.
In: The Pope and population policy, [compiled by] Catholics for a Free Choice. Washington, D.C., Catholics for a Free Choice, .  p.The pope is trying to control the language of a draft Program of Action for the 1994 UN International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). The ICPD document, a blueprint for a 20-year campaign to stabilize world population, differs from its predecessors in that it links population growth with reproductive rights and urges family planning and the advancement of women's health and equality. These efforts are directly contrary to the Vatican's extremely conservative policies on population and the role of women, and explain why the Vatican has given such unprecedented attention to the Cairo conference in recent months. However, Vatican intervention in population policies is not new. This paper documents Vatican efforts to control population debate from 1961 to 1994.
CONSCIENCE. 1996 Winter; 16(4):11-2.The Vatican invested considerable effort in the attempt to scuttle the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development. The Catholic Church's involvement in the conference was highly obstructive. Many are increasingly wondering why a religion has a state-like presence in the international arena and have circulated petitions to have the UN look into the issue. The Vatican owes its participation in the UN to happenstance and diplomatic deference. It began with the membership of the Vatican City in the Universal Postal Union and the International Telecommunication Union, which the city-state joined before World War II due to its operation of postal and radio services. The UN, soon after its formation, invited these organizations and their members to attend UN sessions on an ad hoc basis. In 1964, Pope Paul VI named a permanent observer to the UN and UN Secretary-General U Thant simply accepted the designation and announced it soon thereafter. The Holy See therefore joins Switzerland as one of two Non-Member State Permanent Observers at the UN. The Pope addresses the General Assembly as the head of the Holy See, the supreme organ of government of both the Catholic Church and the Vatican City. The Vatican City, however, has only a weak claim to a seat in the UN, while the Holy See is an even more nebulous, religious construct with no claim at all.
POPULATION HEADLINERS. 1994 May; (230):8.The Pope, in attempts to influence the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held a meeting at the Vatican with Dr. Sadik, Executive Director of UNFPA and Secretary General of the ICPD. At that time, the Pope strongly criticized population programs that try to impose limits on family size. Of particular concern were programs that try to persuade couples to have 1-2 children. Dr. Sadik commented that the disagreement was really over contraception, and the access to control of one's own fertility. There were also points of agreement. The Vatican had also called a meeting of all ambassadors accredited to the Holy See, which is about 120. The purpose was to explain the Church's position on population and development prior to the ICPD meetings in Cairo during September 5-13, 1994. It is a rare occasion when all ambassadors are summoned to the Vatican for a meeting. Diplomatic sources said that the meeting was a direct attempt to influence the ICPD. It was officially reported that the Pope will address the General Assembly in October. This will be the first time that Pope John Paul II has addressed the assembly since 1979. Archbishop Martino commented that the Pope would be commemorating the Year of the Family and the 50th Anniversary of the UN. The address will be directed to issues about the family.
WORLD WATCH. 1990 Sep-Oct; 3(5):29-34.In the early 1950s, the Soviet Union and several of its Eastern European satellites completed their transition from high to low fertility before the US and Western Europe. They did this even though there were not enough modern contraceptives available to meet the needs of its citizens. As late as 1990, the Soviet Union had no factories manufacturing modern contraceptives. A gynecologist in Poland described domestically produced oral contraceptives (OCs) as being good for horses, but not for humans. The Romanian government under Ceaucescu banned all contraceptives and safe abortion services. Therefore, women relied on abortion as their principal means of birth control, even in Catholic Poland. The legal abortion rates in the Soviet Union and Romania stood at 100/1000 (1985) and 91/1000 (1987) as compared to 18/1000 in Denmark and 13/1000 in France. All too often these abortion were prohibited and occurred under unsafe conditions giving rise to complications and death. Further, the lack of contraceptives in the region precipitated and increase in AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. On the other hand, abortion rates were minimalized in Czechoslovakia, East Germany, and Hungary due to the availability of modern contraceptives and reproductive health services. Hungary and East Germany even manufactured OCs. OC use in these 2 nations rated as among the world's highest. East Germany also treated infertility and sexually transmitted diseases. The region experienced a political opening in latecomer 1989. In 1989, IPPF gave approximately 15 million condoms and 3000 monthly OC packets to the Soviet Union to ease the transition. More international assistance for contraceptive supplies and equipment and training to modernize abortion practices is necessary.
BACKGROUND NOTES. 1989 Apr; 1-4.Rome surrounds the State of the Vatican City which provides the territorial base of the Holy See, i.e. the central government of the Roman Catholic Church. The population consists of 1000 people mostly of Italian or Swiss nationality, while the work force includes 4000 individuals. Even though Italian is commonly used, official acts of the Holy See are written in Latin. When Italy unified in 1861, the Kingdom of Italy ruled over most of the Papal States, except Rome and its environs, until 1870 at which time Rome was forced to join the Kingdom. On February 11, 1929, the Italian Government and the Holy See signed an agreement recognizing the independence and sovereignty of the Holy See and creating the State of the Vatican City, fixing relations between the church and the government, and providing the Holy See compensation for its financial losses. Pope John Paul II, the first nonItalian Pope in almost 5 centuries and a Pole, is the present leader of the Legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the Holy See and the State. The Roman Curia and its staff, the Papal Civil Service, assists the Pope in ruling the Holy See. The Curia, directed by the Secretariat of State, includes 9 Congregations, 3 Tribunals, 12 Pontifical Councils, and offices that handle church affairs at the highest level. Since the 4th century, the Holy See has had diplomatic relations with other sovereign states and continues so today. Presently, it has nearly 80 permanent diplomatic missions in other countries and carries on diplomatic relations with 119 nations. In addition, the HOly See participates in diplomatic activities with international organizations which include the UN in New York and Geneva, UNESCO, the European Economic Community, and other related organizations. The United States has had relations with the Papal States form 1797-1870. The US and the Holy See reestablished diplomatic relations on January 10, 1984.