The Vatican has announced its intent “to contribute to the WHO Emergency Fund for the supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to frontline medical workers.” The World Health Organization (WHO) is part of the United Nations and supports both contraception and abortion.
During his remarks at the 73rd World Health Assembly this May, Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, the Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, pointed out that the Vatican “has already made various donations to the regions in need of urgent help.”
Additionally, “many religious orders, parishes and priests have been on the frontlines, caring for those who have been infected and their families.”
Ironically, the Vatican’s announcement to contribute to the WHO came only weeks after pro-life leaders praised President Donald Trump for halting funding to the international public health agency.
“This is a brilliant and brave move from President Trump,” commented John Smeaton, Director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. “Not only has the World Health Organisation been planning for years to promote abortion in a COVID-19-type pandemic, it has become abundantly clear even to the secular world that the WHO is serving the world’s most corrupt power structures rather than the common good.”
Jeff Gunnarson of Campaign Life Coalition in Canada said, “When a health organization that is designed to monitor the physical well being of the globe’s citizens but ignores the cries of the unborn, it’s critical that not only should they be defunded but shuttered.”
Archbishop Jurkovič concluded his brief remarks at the World Health Assembly “by relaying the fervent hope of Pope Francis that the heightened research motivated by the COVID-19 pandemic will be conducted ‘in a transparent and disinterested way, in order to find vaccines and treatments and to guarantee universal access to essential technologies that will enable every infected person, in every part of the world, to receive the necessary health care.’”
Neither the archbishop nor the Pope addressed the fact that at least several of the potential coronavirus vaccines currently in development are based on cell lines of aborted babies.
While the Vatican’s donation to the WHO Emergency Fund was specified as “for the supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to frontline medical workers,” some Catholics wonder how the Vatican can support the WHO at all, given its direct opposition to Church teaching on matters like abortion.
On its website, the WHO states, among other things, “Every woman has the recognized human right to decide freely and responsibly without coercion and violence the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health (ICPD 1994). Access to legal and safe abortion is essential for the realization of these rights.”
The WHO “provides global technical and policy guidance on the use of contraception to prevent unintended pregnancy, safe abortion, and treatment of complications from unsafe abortion.”
In the past, the Vatican, which is not a member of the United Nations, but an observer, has been cautious about even symbolically supporting the organization’s efforts when they are in opposition to the Church’s doctrine.
In 1996, the Vatican announced that it “cannot offer any symbolic contribution to UNICEF,” the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund.
Archbishop Renato Martino, at the time the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, argued that suspending “the practice of making a symbolic contribution was the result of the Holy See’s increasing preoccupation with the changes in UNICEF’s activities which have begun to divert some of its already scarce economic and human resources from the care of the most basic needs of children to other areas outside of that specific mandate given by the United Nations to UNICEF.”
Martino specifically mentioned “[e]vidence of UNICEF involvement in advocacy to alter national legislation regarding abortion” and “credible reports that UNICEF workers in various countries were distributing contraceptives and counseling their use.”
Both concerns could also be addressed at the WHO, which is nevertheless now being supported by the Vatican.
Just last year, the Holy See declared it was not going to participate in “The Nairobi Summit on ICPD 25” on the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).
“The organizers’ decision, however, to focus the conference on a few controversial and divisive issues that do not enjoy international consensus and that do not reflect accurately the broader population and development agenda outlined by the ICPD, is regrettable,” the Vatican pointed out.
“The ICPD and its encompassing Programme of Action within the international community’s broad development agenda should not be reduced to so-called ‘sexual and reproductive health and rights’ and ‘comprehensive sexuality education.’”
Pope Francis himself has praised the United Nations in 2015 during his address to the General Assembly in New York.
“The praiseworthy international juridical framework of the United Nations Organization and of all its activities, like any other human endeavour, can be improved, yet it remains necessary; at the same time it can be the pledge of a secure and happy future for future generations,” the Pope said.
Pope Paul VI was the first Pope to speak to the General Assembly of the United Nations, followed by both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict.
“I can only reiterate the appreciation expressed by my predecessors, in reaffirming the importance which the Catholic Church attaches to this Institution and the hope which she places in its activities,” Francis said in 2015.
The coronavirus pandemic has also raised questions about the WHO’s connections to the Communist regime in China.