Catholic Voices USA Shadow Report for
the Committee Against Torture
The Insatiable New Intolerance
For some two thousand years, the Catholic Church has burned with a light now visible from any window on earth. In every age, men and women from all walks of life have reached toward that light. In every age, other men and women have turned away from it. The blunt fact of opposition to the teachings of the Catholic Church, and at times to the mere existence of its faithful, come as no surprise to students of history.
From the martyrs of the Circus Maximus to the tumbrils grinding toward the guillotine, from the camps of twentieth-century totalitarianism to other killing fields where the felt need to silence Christians and Christianity has had its way, members of the Church have borne witness, including with their lives, to the enmity that other people have harbored for the teachings of their faith.
Today, as this very Committee of the United Nations convenes, Christian men, women, and children are being tortured and persecuted and killed in a great many parts of the world. These are documented, purposeful, ongoing crimes that cry to heaven for international attention – including from Turtle Bay.i And even in places mercifully free of the threat of bodily violence, many other Christians today as yesterday know the softer persecutions of social stigma, discrimination, mockery and disdain.
To repeat: that Christians and the Church itself have known adversaries of all kinds throughout the ages is an easily verifiable commonplace. Even so, and as the unprecedented remarks against the Holy See and contained in other recent United Nations documents go to show, the age-old desire to marginalize the Church and to discredit the moral teachings on which she cannot do anything but insist have lately taken a new and singularly vitriolic form.