So what does an organisation have to do???

November 26, 2009

THere is an NGO, which has a very special role in the UN. It participates as a state actor, within the UN, even though it is not actually a nation state. This NGO is the Holy See. The Catholic Church.

I will admit, that while I was a born and raised a catholic, I don’t believe in their version of God. This means that I am probably fairly sceptical about the idea that this church was built on the instructions of some divine being. I think most reasonable person would be forced to admit, that at present there is no actual evidence which supports this particular view of the meaning of life, over anyone elses version. No matter how staunch their belief.

I respect peoples right to believe what they like. If someone wants to believe that Peter was the rock upon which God built his church, hey ho. If someone wants to choose to live their life by tenets of catholicism, am ok with that, and would be very vocal about protecting their right to pursue their faith-without interference.

But a position on the UN, equivalent to a nation state? That is power.  Real power. When that power is combined with the power of the church as an aid/healthcare/education provider-then there is more power. Not just power within their church, but power over a lot of people, who may, or may not, share the view that this organisation is the one chosen by God, to spread His word.

The nation state of the Vatican is actually an entirely male ‘state’ of about 1000 people. Does this entitle them to a position as nonmember state permanent observer?

If we are giving a position on the UN which is equivalent to that of a nation state, then surely, it isn’t enough that its members believe that they are spreading the word of god- surely there has to be some kind of accountability? THat seems straightforward- accountability- monitor the way that power is used, keep an eye on other actions of that particular organisation, to ensure that there is actual evidence to support their role as moral guardian for the world?

If such an organisation, say, deliberately covered up child abuse, on a worldwide scale, most recently in Ireland– should that compromise their right to hold such a coveted position?

Maybe not.

What about if an the NGO that held this coveted position. A position that no other NGO shares. What if, this NGO was implicated in colluding with genocide? Is collusion in genocide, AND covering up child abuse on a worldwide scale enough, to undermine an NGO’s priveledged position, as moral guardian of the world?

Maybe its unfair to expect an organisation to be assessed on the basis of its actions, outside an arena like the UN, if we are talking about questioning their role within it. Surely its ok to assess the way they have used their power, within that role?

What if, during a time, when an entire continent is being decimated by a virus, an organisation used its considerable power within the UN, to hinder the promotion of the one thing which could help people protect themselves against that virus? What if that virus caused more deaths than all genocides, added together? Should the stance of an NGO, who place its own views of sexual morality, over allowing people to protect themselves from death, be enough to warrant at least some consideration, of the wisdom of that power being retained?

Or if the NGO continually pursued an agenda, against contraceptive, and womens reproductive freedom, which can demonstrably be shown to cost thousands of womens lives?  Surely, at that point, someone should be questioning the right of that NGO to hold such a priveledged position?

If collusion in genocide, pursuing an agenda which contributes to hundreds of thousands of deaths, abusing children, and doing everything in its considerable power, to cover up that abuse, is not enough to prompt questions about an NGO’s right to dictate morality to the world, then what is?



  1. Like so many things in the developing world that causes disease, injustice, loss, famine and death, rich countries won’t do anything about it because their own economies, security and lifestyles aren’t affected.

    The CC’s followers have faith; Our governments were voted in by us, which for me makes politicians (and the masses?) worse.

    A nincompoop could see that prophylactics could save the lives of millions. If the CC had an ounce of compassion it would put aside one of their particular beliefs and in doing so grant the gift of life to many souls.

    Yours aye,


    PS. Excellent blog. Keep up the good work.

  2. I am not against faith, I think Catholics for Choice are an example of people recognising the power their faith has, and trying to use it in a way that does not place its perpetuation over the lives of people who do not share their belief.

    At some point you must be forced to say that the actions of an organisation have led to them being perceived as morally bankrupt.

    • I dunno. The general intentions of the CC are to “be good” – they don’t mean to be malicious, it’s just that their occasional stupidity can kill people.

      I think that when everything an organisation does is bad, and when the intention to do good has gone, only then is the entire outfit morally bankrupt.

      Whilst they dropped a lot of points following the recent news from Ireland, they still get a Blue Peter badge.

      • I think it raises an interesting and difficult question for me. I have friends who are catholics, and are good people. Catholics for choice are a great organisation. But when the leadership of an organisation is so consistently morally bankrupt, and they are, and it is not challenged within the organisation- then I think the impact that organisation can be allowed to have over the rest of us, has to be looked at. If the leadership of any organisation is morally bankrupt, and it is not challenged visibly or effectively from within, then people outside that organisation should challenge their moral authority. Using theology to justify an action, does not leave that action above reproach.

        I ultimately believe that religious belief should not be allowed to justify any action, which can cause harm to those who are outside it, and the UN is no place for any organisation using faith to justify causing a great deal of harm. Religion should be about informing and enriching the lives who follow it, not imposition on the lives of those who dont.

  3. Well I think that you’ve put that one to bed. I agree and don’t really have anything further to add on this particular matter.

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