Action Alert!

Amnesty discards its own credibility

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | May 18, 2011

After years of showing a leftward political tilt, Amnesty International has toppled over completely. The group's annual report for 2001, as CWN reported yesterday, criticizes the Vatican for failure to abide by the terms of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Since there aren't many children living within the Vatican city-state, that criticism should immediately raise eyebrows. But Amnesty is ready to explain its odd position:

Increasing evidence of widespread child sexual abuse committed by members of the clergy over the past few decades, and of the enduring failure of the Catholic Church to address these crimes properly, continued to emerge in various countries.

Pay particular attention to those last 3 words: "in various countries." In the Vatican? No, in other countries. So why is Amnesty holding the Vatican responsible? Does Amnesty have some evidence that the Vatican was responsible for abuse in the US or  Ireland or Italy? No; no such evidence exists. 

To do its work successfully--to raise awareness of human-rights violations, wherever they occur--Amnesty International must maintain a reputation for accuracy and reliability, for digging out the facts and avoiding the pitfalls of propaganda. This foolish report does the opposite: it convinces a thoughtful reader that Amnesty bases its criticism on the rhetoric rather than the facts, the perception rather than the reality--on politically-correct opinion rather than verifiable evidence. 

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: - May. 21, 2011 7:44 AM ET USA

    The Amnesty International Organization cannot speak from the high moral ground on this topic as they discarded their impartiality regarding the abortion issue in 2007 by supporting the abortion-on-demand lobby. As we know, there can be no greater abuse of a developing child than the destruction of him or her within the womb. As Phil points out the organization seems to be on an ideological quest to nail the Vatican over spurious charges where no such evidence exists.

  • Posted by: wolfdavef3415 - May. 18, 2011 11:25 PM ET USA

    Your last sentence says it all. The politically correct opinion in these days is that Catholic is synonymous with child abuser. You don't even have to be a priest for it to apply.