Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

The Hidden Face of the United Nations

by Frank Morriss


Here Frank Morriss reviews The Hidden Face of the United Nations by Fr. Michel Schooyans (translated by Fr. John H. Miller, C.S.C.). In his book Schooyans, a Belgian demographer, philosopher and theologian, replaces the once noble image of the United Nations with the frightening reality — a plan to form a new world order based on Satanic views of "new rights of man," many in areas such as homosexuality, euthanasia, pedophilia, divorce, and prostitution.

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Wanderer Forum Foundation, Inc., Hudson, WI, Spring 2003

The title character of Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray sank deeper and deeper into evil, all the while remaining, with the devil's help, impressively handsome and young decade after decade. But his portrait, hidden in the attic, slowly took on the evil of his deeds, turning hideously ugly, showing the debauched reality that was diabolically hidden from the world. In the end, some suspicious of Gray's seemingly eternal incorruptibility discover the portrait that revealed the truth about the deception.

Many of us have long been suspicious about the reality of the United Nations, with its facade of dedication to peace, progress, and prosperity. Now a Catholic priest and scholar has torn away the cover of the portrait of the UN in the attic and revealed the transformation of the once-promising organization of nations into a machine for the destruction of national sovereignties and their replacement with a new order for a world culture based on a Satanic vision of "new rights of man." Fr. Michel Schooyans, Belgian demographer, philosopher and theologian, reveals what the United Nations truly looks like and is moving toward in The Hidden Face of the United Nations (translated by Fr. John H. Miller, C.S.C., Central Bureau, St. Louis, 2001).

With exact, precise and cohesive analysis, Fr. Schooyans reveals the devolution of the UN's original recognition of a traditional understanding of human rights in its 1948 "Universal Declaration on the Rights of Man" until today, in the author's words, we have reached a "perverse reinterpretation of the rights of man operating under the influence of voluntarism and holism;1 the opposition to sovereign States prompted by the UN; the establishment of a lay inquisition under cover of tolerance and the use of law to 'legitimize' violence" (p.11). The results of this diminution of man, ousted from being master of earth, puts human rights as based on physical strength, so that, in Fr. Schooyans' words, "the rights of the strong animal are superior to those of the weak Man" (p.20, with a reference to Peter Singer's Animal Liberation).

In this flight from reasoning and the science of ontology Fr. Schooyans sees the acceptance of a deadly rule formulated in the passing of the baton from ancient orthodoxy to a new kind of idea embraced by international organizations, and in the first place by the UN and its agencies — "Let us renounce the search for truth and be content with common opinion" (p.24). The author sees adoption of that anti-intellectual premise as revealing today's UN unrecognizable from what it was at its beginning, and we might add that this rule of consensus is the major brushstroke making the portrait in the attic such a frightening disfigurement.

Recent international conferences, Fr. Schooyans reports, have been busy applying this new norm of politic — at Cairo in 1994, Beijing in 1995, and New York in 2000 among others. These were marked by "recourse to consensus," about which the author comments:

"This consensus is constantly invoked, in a specious fashion, to override national legislation that continues to be based on the objectivity of man's rights, typical of the classical tradition. National legislation, then, is more and more made to seem false in relation to these 'conclusions,' agenda and other plans of action" (p.24).

Fr. Schooyans illustrates the ominous outcome:

"Consensus is obtained in international assemblies with 'sure' nongovernmental organizations doing quite a job at lobbying. (On this score, the prize goes to the International Planned Parenthood Federation.) Then this consensus is invoked to bring pressure on nations so that they may 'be true to themselves,' to sign pacts or conventions bearing on matters and programs of actions reached by consensus. Once ratified, these juridical instruments will have the force of law in participating nations" (p. 25).

Fr. Schooyans cites some examples of conflict between such UN-promoted consensuses and national laws, one being Britain's recognition of the right of parents to decide if their children should or should not attend sex education classes, and the UN's tract on the rights of the child. (For insight into the single moral force with the ability to shift consensus at UN conferences, see articles elsewhere in this issue.) The author sees the march toward a new ethic created by "new rights" in such areas as homosexuality, euthanasia, suppression of parents' oversight of their children, pedophilia, divorce, prostitution as heading toward "civil sacralization of violence." At the end of this "neo-Nietzschean journey," he warns will be protection of individual violence by institutional violence. "By its very nature, this same 'new ethic' will . . . be intolerant, as it must be to be able to procure social uniformity and make individuals unidimensional" (p.27).

Fr. Schooyans blames the UN's misconception of human rights for leading to the world body's determination to "deify the Earth and desacralize man" (p.31). He urges an examination of the Earth Charter, "given birth at Stockholm in 1972 and in turn spawning the Earth Council in 1992.2 The Earth Charter, according to the author, reflects an evolutionary scientism that accepts man as a product of evolution and ignores his ability to wonder, inquire into meaning — including that of his own existence, of life and death and the necessity of freedom. Contrariwise, the Charter subjects man to "the ecological imperative," precluding all discussion of why things exist, thus closing the debate in favor of a purely materialistic evolution. All of this is in the hands of the Earth Council and the Green Cross, two nongovernmental organizations. Their success, Fr. Schooyans points out, "must lead to rendering ineffective the realist conception of man's rights" (p.36).

The next step toward an absolutism that will end all recognition of individualism is the proposal by UN bureaucrats of "appropriate juridical instruments that avoid national control." One such "juridical instrument" foreseen by the author has already come into existence — namely, the International Criminal Court (ICC). Fr. Schooyans warns that under pressure from radical feminists and / or homosexuals "the competence of this court could extend to 'crimes' concerning the so-called 'new rights of man' obtained by way of 'consensus.' . . ." It is easy to see that the Catholic Church or its bishops might be hauled before this court and convicted for refusing to "ordain" women or for continuing to teach the immorality of homosexual practices. Fr. Schooyans foresees subjection of opponents of abortion, homosexuality, and euthanasia to possible prosecution before judges of this court (p.40). He points to a resolution of November 26, 2000, by the UN's Commission on the Rights of Man creating the post of Special Representative of the Secretary General of the UN "charged with protection of defenders of the rights of man." In a Declaration on the Defenders of the Rights of Man (disseminated in March, 2000) "the new rights of man" must be actively promoted and quickly made part of national legislation. The author says this is aimed first of all "at sheltering the most radical 'defenders of the new rights of man' from all opposition and attack" (p.42).

The author points out there is no doubt that prosecution in these matters will fall to the ICC if not adequately dealt with by nations. "The association NAMBLA (North American Man / Boy Love Association) has already made it known that it hopes to take advantage of the protection afforded by the Declaration (on Defenders of the Rights of Man) to protect itself against those opposed to pedophilia" (p.42).

Fr. Schooyans charges UN functionaries with a push to have "new rights of man" adopted, including those the author sees as "regrouped around sexual rights" thus:

  • "the role differences between men and women in society are not natural, they are cultural;
  • "everyone is free to choose his sex or change it; homosexual unions with the 'right' of adoption;
  • "one-parent 'families,' same sex unions (among) 'models' for families;
  • "legalized and easy access to contraception in all its forms and to abortion;
  • "obligatory sex education for adolescents . . . sexual freedom for adolescents withdrawn from parental control . . ."

Fr. Schooyans identifies one desire of the UN as being "to step through the doorway reserved for consciences." This was revealed, says the author, at the gathering of some 1,000 world religious leaders "for peace," part of the World Pact summit in New York in July, 2000. A specific purpose of the "Joint Initiative of Religious" is creation of a world religion to obtain a "new planetary ethic." All proselytizing (conversion efforts) by individual religions would be prohibited. "Circles of cooperation" would disseminate the new all-embracing pantheistic religion. The meeting of religious leaders ended, in the words of Fr. Schooyans, "with a eulogy on badly understood tolerance, agnosticism, radical relativism." Understandably, Francis Cardinal Arinze, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, was unable to sign that initiative.

Fr. Schooyans saw all the feverish activity of the Millennium Year 2000, including the summit for heads of state and leaders of religion in New York, as part of the UN's Secretary General Kofi Annan's effort to erect "the UN into a veritable breeding ground for a worldwide sovereign 'elite,' and to transform it into a place of concentrated power without precedent in history." This, the author maintains, "would leave governments and parliaments but a residual role . . . 'Sharing responsibility' is a new booby-trapped expression indicating that the UN is no longer satisfied to play a subsidiary role. It intends to place itself at the center of world power and to equip itself, little by little, with all the apparatus of control which it needs to exercise what it believes to be its mission during the New Millennium" (p.66).

Fr. Schooyans identifies (p.83) the philosopher-theorist behind the architectural work on a new world absolutism as Hans Kelsen (1881-1973):

"It is not an exaggeration to say that the UN conceptions of the 'new rights of man,' of consensus, of internationalism and of most of the other themes that we have encountered find their source in this theory of totally rationalist and positivist law. It is well understood that Kelsen probably had no knowledge of the perverse use that was made of his thought in the UN's milieux. It is no less true that the capital work of Kelsen [Pure Theory], whose influence continues to be exercised on the jurists of the entire world, is a guide that cannot be overlooked if one is to understand the present trends of the UN. That is all the more patent when one realizes that the Viennese professor at Berkeley influenced the drafting of the Charter" (p.83-84).

Fr. Schooyans' analysis of Kelsen's Pure Theory of Law finds law itself to be self-created as part of "a coercive order"; that "the physical person" is an artificial construction of law; that conference of personhood is done only by the State using constricting juridical norms; that life and death can be defined by such norms; that slaves can be envisioned having no legal personality; that the dignity of the human being will vary according to the norms; that the juridical order of the family rests on the State's order; that truth has no pertinency for the norms, only their validity; that lack of respect for the norms demands restraint, which the state must perform; that the norms, not factuality, must determine how men ought to behave; that norms can come into existence little by little by consensus, allowing what was once criminal to be permitted.

Fr. Schooyans quotes Kelsen as holding that (as he writes in Pure Theory) ". . . custom becomes the expression of a collective will whose subjective meaning is an ought" — an ought created by "the norm-creating fact," which seems to be gradual group acceptance of a way of acting. Kelsen identifies the State with law itself, echoing the Holmesian measurement that law is the determination of the juridical power's prediction of what will become acceptable. Fr. Schooyans quotes Kelsen:

"The validity of a norm is not derived from its content, that is, because its content can be deduced by logical operation. It is valid because it was created . . . in a fashion determined by the basic norm . . . Any content whatsoever might be law. No human behavior would be excluded, as such, from being the content of a legal norm" (Kelsen, p.197f.).

Kelsen puts the "supreme norm" beyond questioning, demanding obedience out of duty, or blind obedience similar to the Kantian imperative. The pyramid of norms in Kelsian theory is called by Fr. Schooyans a "perverse inversion of the principle of subsidiarity," that insistence by the Natural Law that the higher power may not arrogate to itself what can successfully be done at a lower level. Putting aside this protection of rights at the lowest level results in a necessary collaboration by state tribunals and their judges with the Super-State, says Fr. Schooyans. He explains that just as Kelsen's theory brings dissolution of the person, his conception of the superiority of international law brings dissolution of the national state. Kelsen writes:

"The States . . . do not retain the competence (to make any norm whatsoever) except to the extent that international law does not reserve the matter, thus removing it from free regulation by national law . . . If one admits that international law is a supranational legal order, the State order no longer has an illimitable competence" (p.338 Pure Theory; quoted by Schooyans p. 97).

Calling Kelsen's pyramidal system "holistic," Fr. Schooyans sees its conclusion to be that "the Super-State and the juridical order that validates it constitute the unique reality outside of which nothing, not even any person, has value" (p.100). "The subordination of individuals to States and the States to a world command center, characterized by an indisputable sovereignty, ordered by international law, is a logical necessity required by his (Kelsen's) theory of law." Thus we have a "new totalitarianism which is being put in place in the name of the international juridical order (that) is a collective, anonymous totalitarianism without a face."

Ominously, but without doubt correctly, Fr. Schooyans reasons:

"This explains the role devolving upon the International Penal Court. Since there is no longer a way of identifying the general principles of law, it will pertain to the tribunal to reveal the meaning of the juridical texts and consensual decisions, and to say which interpretation is valid. Divergencies of interpretation are henceforth intolerable, for they ruin the juridical order and consequently the supranational State . . . "The conventions and pacts no longer appear here as accords passed freely by individual and sovereign States, but as a juridical link emanating from the will of the international organization, requiring, via the ratifications, obedience from States" (p.102).

Fr. Schooyans comments: "With an astonishing theory of law we are in the presence of pyramidal concentration of power absolutely without precedent in history" (p.103). He further states:

"One observes, then, that the world juridical order being constructed is not at the service of a classic imperial or hegemonic type. It is to serve for controlling life. The supreme norm here is the mastery over life in order to arrive, thereby, at the domination of men and of all things" (p.104). (emphasis the author's)

It is easy to see that to obtain this domination over life, the destruction of true human rights is necessary. As Fr. Schooyans explains, "In the milieux of the UN, the destruction of Nations appears, then, as an objective to be sought if one wishes definitively to smother the anthropocentric conception of man's rights. By putting an end to the intermediary body which is the national State, one would have done with subsidiarity, since a centralized world State would have replaced it. The way would then be cleared for the arrival of the technocrats and other aspirants to totalitarian world governance" (p.110).

Fr. Schooyans sees abortion, euthanasia, sterilization as an opening effort in this grasp for a world-wide totalitarianism. All of those practices the author sees as expressing the tendency toward erecting violence into a right, toward "the gift of death" as an expression of the sovereign will:

"In fact, in the case of abortion, the absolutely innocent one is declared guilty. It is the evil resulting from a failed contraception; the obstacle to a career and to comfort; the inadmissible hindrance to one's own liberty; it is the brake on enrichment and development. Absolute violence must correspond to total innocence. The innocent one must be lynched. Consequently, the innocent one must be designated as the victim, as the scapegoat, and even as a guilty victim, and he must be treated as such with a violence that will silence him and make him disappear."

"One can speak analogously about the poor of the Third World, whom they want to sterilize; the mentally deficient or terminally sick, whom they want to euthanize; the beggars, the street kids whom they want to shoot like rabbits. Our century is revising the category homo sacer. In the name of the 'new rights of man,' entire categories of human beings can be put to death without the killers committing homicide. These beings are deprived of all rights; all juridical protection is withdrawn from them" (p.114 with reference to a study, Les Peines de mort en Grece et a Rome, Paris: Michael, 2000)

It is not surprising, then, that Fr. Schooyans can report, "The Christian presence disturbs the present UN, because in the domain of anthropology, this UN has rejected all reference to truth . . . It is plain for all to see that the Church cannot admit that all reference to truth be driven out, as if man were incapable of declaring something true about himself, or even as if he were forbidden to do so" (p. 116).

Many of these horrors are being visited on mankind with the excuse of "sustainable development" — that is, restriction on human expansion on the assertion such is harmful to planet, as if man is subject to the Earth, rather than the Earth to man:

"Here it is not so much a question of asking men today to sacrifice themselves in order for utopia of a radiant future to be born. In the name of future generations, draconian measures must be taken without delay to restrict the wrong done by human interventions in the planet. To recover this 'ethic of the future,' ecologists, strongly impregnated with New Age ideas, will exalt the cult of Gaia. They will conclude that the rights of Mother Earth are more important than the rights of these ephemeral beings called man" (p. 20, with reference to a work by Hans Jonas, Le principe responsabilite: Une ethique pour la civilisation technologique, Paris: Cerf, 1995).

The calls for "sustainable development" coming from the Stockholm UN conference in 1972 should be seen in this light. The Earth Charter demands man "acknowledge, not only the rights of Earth in general, but also the rights of living beings, especially the animals. In brief, man must accept being subject to the ecological imperative" (p. 35, with reference to Le nouvel ordre ecologique. L'arbe, l'animal et l'homme, by Luc Ferry, Paris: Livre de Poche, 1998).

Fr. Schooyans cites in this regard Article 37 of the proposed Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the European Union:

"A high level of environmental protection must be integrated into the policies of the Union and ensured in accordance with the principle (sic) of sustainable development" (p.168).

The hostility of much of Europe toward the United States and its free-enterprise championing President, George W. Bush, is perhaps explained by the commitment of European intellectuals and futurists to this restrictive "principle" that makes mankind hostage to their environment, whereas the American ethic has always recognized the right and nobility of man's conquering the environment to draw from it human sustenance and prosperity.

Fr. Schooyans quotes Romano Prodi to the effect that "European 'messianism,' anti-family and anti-life, has worldwide ambitions." Prodi is president of the European Union charter commission, a plan for a Europe rapidly succumbing to a sort of suicide stemming from a failure of reproduction, and a rejection of its religious heritage. These dismal facts, while increasing our Catholic appreciation of Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae as one of the most prophetic documents of modern times, should be a wake-up call. As the following articles in this issue of the Forum Focus will show, the Holy See has planted itself firmly in opposition to some of the forces within the UN bent on stripping man of his God-given human dignity and rights. It is a hidden battle between good and evil which has eternal ramifications for millions of souls.


  1. By voluntarism, Fr. Schooyans is referring to the Kantian appeal to the human will as the basis of rights. Reason is disqualified and the foundation of human rights is destroyed. Holism places Man as a mere unit in a materialistic monist reality into which everything is fitted.
  2. Vide:

Frank Morriss is co-editor of Forum Focus and a contributing author and columnist for The Wanderer newspaper. He has served as new editor for the Denver Catholic Register and the National Catholic Register and has been an active journalist and author since 1950. A graduate of Regis College and holder of a law degree from Georgetown University, he has also been a college professor and the founder of a private Catholic school. He most recently authored Saints in Verse and Two Chapels on John Henry Newman.

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