After reading this awesome article by former nun Joanna Manning, who wrote Is the Pope Catholic?, I decided that I was going to compile and share some information regarding the Vatican and the international ramifications (for non-Catholics and Catholics alike) of their United Nations recognition.
Here we go!
* Vatican City, is the official residence of the Pope and headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. It is just over 100 acres big and and 766 people live there.
* These inhabitants do not acquire Vatican citizenship by birth as in every other country, but by their position in the Catholic church.
* As an independent state, the Vatican has United Nations status. The official title of that status is: "Non-Member States Maintaining Permanent Observer Missions at UN Headquarters".
* This designation gives it some of the privileges of a state, such as being able to speak and vote at UN conferences.
* No other religion is recognized as a state in the United Nations.
* Vatican City has no female citizens, or citizens who are children.
* The government of the Holy See is not elected nor is it held accountable for its actions.
* The Vatican has used its "statehood" to seek immunity in two lawsuits. Once in 2000, when charged with laundering Nazi gold and other assets. And another just last month, when a class action suit of more than 240 victims of clergy sex abuse.
* Pope John Paul II called the 1994 UN Conference on Population and Development "the work of the devil"
* The Vatican led opposition to providing contraception and abortion for women following the mass rapes in Bosnia and Kosovo.
* The Vatican fought to exclude “forced pregnancy” from a proposed list of war crimes.
* The Vatican also led a campaign to cut off funding to UNICEF because it distributes emergency contraception to teenage girls in war zones.
* At the 1995 Beijing Women's Conference, the Vatican delegation held up proceedings for days over the use of the word "gender."
* The Vatican has refused to sign the UN Convention to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women because it reserves the right to discriminate against Catholic women.
* In 1996, a Catholic church in Honduras, prevented the distribution of one million condoms by health and election officials at polling stations during an election. Honduras has the highest incidence of AIDS in Central America.
* In 1996, in Nairobi, Kenya, where the AIDS epidemic is exploding among young women, Cardinal Maurice Otunga, Kenya's leading Roman Catholic church official, burned boxes of condoms and safe sexual literature.
* In Zambia the Catholic Church opposed a measure to allow unmarried pregnant girls to continue their education.
* The Vatican has consistently sought to omit references to condoms from U.N. policy documents.
* The Roman Catholic Church supports more than 300,000 health facilities worldwide and has made it if any or U.N. agency attempts to force those facilities to to offer contraception services, they will shut down these facilities.
* AIDS has killed 22 million people in the last 20 years.