On Register Radio this week, Elena Rodríguez talks with the founder and president of the Faith & Reason Institute, Robert Royal, about why the so-called “new” rights being pushed by the United Nations are dead wrong. Also, Dan Burke interviews Ann Carey about the continuing issues and controversies that surround the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (aka the LCWR).


Rights of the Child and the United Nations

Elena Rodríguez spoke with the founder and president of the Faith & Reason Institute, Robert Royal. He is also editor in chief of The Catholic Thing. He has written many books, including his most recent, The God That Did Not Fail (2006, Encounter).

Royal holds a B.A. and M.A. from Brown University and a Ph.D. in comparative literature from The Catholic University of America. He has taught at Brown University, Rhode Island College and The Catholic University of America.

Royal writes and speaks frequently on the questions of ethics, culture, religion and politics, and he has appeared on various television and radio stations around the United States, including EWTN, and has lectured in 12 foreign countries. He has also translated books and articles from French, Spanish and Italian.

In early February, a United Nations committee told the Catholic Church to “get over” its opposition to teenagers having sex and that the Catholic Church needs to “change” its teachings on abortion and homosexuality.

Now, this committee — made up of independent experts from 18 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Norway, Italy and Spain — is overseeing the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a hard-law treaty the Church ratified in 1990. Every country in the world has ratified that convention — except for the United States and Somalia. 

Royal has academically analyzed political manipulations across several ages in history, and, in response to the U.N. labeling these so-called “rights” as a “legally binding international instrument,” he pointed out that when we talk about the rights of the child in this cultural moment, we’re not talking about protecting them from sexual or physical abuse, hunger or violence (which, of course, already have protections in place). The very title of the document and the fact that the United States resisted signing it raises a red flag, according to Royal.

What the actual text of the convention talks about is protecting children before they’re born as well as after they’re born. “You could argue it’s an implicit pro-life message in the actual … text,” Royal points out. He also states that the United States is “quite right not to sign this” due to valid concerns.

The original charter of the United Nations existed, according to Royal, “to protect cultural and religious and national differences,” though those early rights have morphed into “assuming that these international bodies have a right to impose ‘gay marriage’ [and] nondiscrimination against gays,” among other values. Unfortunately, said Royal, the U.N. has become “a vehicle for cultural radicalism and social engineering.”

Read more about the U.N.’s push in Royal’s Register commentary, “The New Rights at the U.N. are Dead Wrong.”


Controversies of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Dan Burke interviews Ann Carey. Carey has written extensively about Catholic women religious for many years, publishing articles on the subject in the Register, Our Sunday Visitor, Crisis and Catholic World Report. She has received Catholic Press Association awards for news and feature writing and for investigative reporting.

The second, updated edition of her book Sisters in Crisis is now available from Ignatius Press and discusses at length the ongoing controversy surrounding the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and the group’s clashes with the Vatican. The book also examines the dramatic changes in the lives of women religious in the United States in the years since Vatican II, as well as the increasingly hopeful signs of genuine renewal cropping up in religious communities across the country.

The LCWR has about 1,100 members. Nuns are eligible to join the conference if they’re elected to some sort of leadership position in their orders. The other 45,000-50,000 women religious sisters don’t belong to this conference. The theology represented by the LCWR is generally not accepted by the majority of sisters, according to Carey.

Her work was, in part, inspired by the fact that, after writing many news articles, she was contacted by sisters who asked her to write about the discrepancy between what the Leadership Conference was saying and what the majority of grassroots sisters actually believe. “I keep hearing from them that they do not agree with this [LCWR ideology],” Carey said.

In the latest piece Carey has written for the Register, she discusses what she discovered after attending the LCWR conference in 2013 regarding their approach to the “new cosmology.”

This viewpoint comes from the keynote speaker at the 2012 LCWR assembly, Barbara Marx Hubbard, who is a proponent of the “evolving consciousness, which means that we’re all in a new phase of humanity, and we all have the capability of sort of taking over our own evolution,” said Carey. Carey was befuddled that this was being presented to a group of Catholic women religious.

Carey was very interested, then, in what would be said at the 2013 assembly, which was addressed by Franciscan Sister Ilia Delio, who spoke about the new cosmology. What struck Carey was how Sister Ilia spoke about “God being in the cosmos in sort of a physical way, because she said there’s no cosmos without God and no God without cosmos.”

God is the creator of all, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, so we know, Carey pointed out, that there is a God without the cosmos. “The message seemed deceiving,” Carey said, especially delivered to a group of women religious.

Carey has since found out that many sisters are studying Sister Ilia’s work. The winter 2014 issue of the LCWR’s papers is devoted to these topics.

“I think it is really permeating the leadership in women religious,” Carey stated. “I wonder if they’re beginning to lose sight of the fact that the fullness of Truth is in the Catholic Church.”