Comments of the Holy See on the Concluding Observations
of the Committee
on the Rights of the Child
1. The Holy See is well aware of its position within the international juridical
system, as a sovereign subject of international law, as well as of its
obligations as a State Party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
and its Optional Protocols, which has been clearly articulated in its Reports,
Written Replies and statements made during the inter-active dialogue. At
this point, and pursuant to art. 45 (d) of the CRC, the Holy See intends to
comment on certain passages contained in the Concluding Observations
(CRC/C/VAT/CO/2; CRC/C/OPSC/VAT/CO/1; CRC/C/OPAC/VAT/CO/1) presented by the Committee on the Rights of the Child
(hereinafter “Committee”), on 5 February 2014.
2. In specific regard to the Concluding Observations CRC/C/VAT/CO/2, the
Holy See underlines that in executing the obligations under the CRC, its conduct
has always been inspired by general principles of international law, which
include respecting in good faith the obligations deriving from treaties.
The specific details are set out in the Second Periodic Report
(CRC/C/VAT/2) and in the Written Replies to the List of Issues of
the Committee (CRC/C/VAT/Q/2/Add.1). The Holy See has acted in a similar way in
relation to the application of the Optional Protocols as specified in its
Initial Reports (CRC/C/OPSC/VAT/1 and CRC/C/OPAC/VAT/1) and in the
Written Replies of the Holy See to the List of Issues of the
Committee (CRC/C/OPSC/ VAT/Q/2/Add.1).
3. The Holy See, in affirming its proper nature as a subject of international law,
reiterates that the international obligations contracted upon adherence to the
CRC, with reservations and
interpretative declaration, and
its Optional Protocols are fulfilled first and foremost through the implementation of the aforementioned duties within the territory of the Vatican City State
(VCS), over which the Holy See exercises full territorial sovereignty.
Beyond this geographic territory, which it administers, the Holy See
disseminates principles recognized in the CRC to all people of goodwill and to
various local Catholic churches and institutions, which operate in different
States in compliance with national laws. Therefore, the obligations of the
Convention and its Optional Protocols refer to Vatican citizens, as well as,
where appropriate, the diplomatic personnel of the Holy See or its Officials
residing outside the territory of Vatican City State.
The Holy See does not have the capacity or legal obligation to impose the
abovementioned principles upon the local Catholic churches and institutions
present on the territory of other States and whose activities abide with
national laws. The Holy See, in accordance with the rules of international law,
is aware that attempting to implement the CRC in the territory of other States
could constitute a violation of the principle of non-interference in the
internal affairs of States.
4. In light of the above, the Holy See takes note with satisfaction that the
Committee has considered this position, indicating that it is “aware”
of “the Holy See’s ratification of the Convention as the Government of
the Vatican City State, and also as a sovereign subject of international law
having an original, non-derived legal personality independent of any territorial
authority or jurisdiction”, and that the Committee is “fully conscious
that bishops and major superiors of religious institutes do not act as
representatives or delegates of the Roman Pontiff ” (CRC/C/VAT/CO/2, para.
5. Indeed, as regards implementation of its obligations under the Convention and
its Optional Protocols, the Holy See, for example, has made significant
amendments to the criminal laws of Vatican City State. As was emphasized in the
Second Periodic Report on the CRC and in the Initial Reports on the
Optional Protocols, in the Written Replies to the List of Issues of the
Committee as well as in the interactive dialogue with the Committee, the
Holy See has executed its commitments within the territory of VCS, where it has
the obligation to implement the Convention and its Protocols.
6. On the other hand, by rejecting the consistent position expressed in
international law and practice, and despite repeated explanations of the Holy
See in its Reports,
Written Replies and
interactive dialogue, the
Committee has overlooked important distinctions between the Holy See,
Vatican City State and the universal Catholic Church. This, inter alia,
has led to a grave misunderstanding of the Holy See’s international legal
obligations under the Convention.
7. The profundity of confusion regarding the nature of the Holy See, its internal
legal order as well as its international legal personality, is fully revealed,
for example, in Concluding Observation para. 8 (CRC/C/VAT/CO/2),
when “religious obedience”, 
in canons 331 and 590 of the Codex Iuris Canonici (CIC), is interpreted
to construct a new form of “ecclesial governance,”
where the Holy See is required to control the daily activities of clerics,
religious and laypersons, living in the territories of sovereign States. 
8. In reference to the abovementioned canonical norms, the Holy See, as a sovereign
subject of international law, reserves to itself the exclusive competence to
interpret its internal fundamental norms, in conformity with pertinent
international law, including the freedom of religion, with specific reference to
the exclusive power of faith communities to organize and govern their internal
9. In addition, the Holy See wishes to underline that the treaty body has plunged
into canon law, which is a juridical system, however, not equivalent to that of
States. In other words, only the laws of the territory of Vatican City State are
comparable to those of other States Parties to the Convention.
Unsurprisingly, the position in para. 8 (CRC/C/VAT/CO/2) based on an erroneous
interpretation of Canons 331 and 590, is fundamentally flawed, and in response,
the Holy See reaffirms the following points found in either its Reports,
Written Replies or statements during the interactive dialogue:
a. That canon law is a “complex unity of divine positive law, divine natural law and human law which
reflect the Catholic Church: its origin, means, spiritual and moral mission,
organizational structure, supernatural end, spiritual and temporal goods,”
signifies that it differs from the laws of other States, in fundamental respects;
b. That the Church is a “communion” of mutual relationships means that interaction
between the particular and the universal Church must “respect the principles of
collegiality and primacy and the duties and rights in canon law of all members
of Christ’s faithful;”
c. That the “religious obedience” of Bishops
and religious Superiors concerns the unity of the doctrine of the Catholic faith
and of the Catholic Church, founded and constituted as a society by Jesus Christ
based on the communion of faith, sacraments and discipline, which are freely
adhered to by members of the faithful;
d. That penal canon law provides certain sanctions for breaches concerning the public order of the
ecclesial society (e.g. dismissal from the clerical state, penances) means it
“differs greatly from State criminal law and [is] not intended to usurp or
otherwise interfere with them or with State civil actions.”
In specific regard to the distinctions between penal canon law and State
criminal laws, the Holy See refers State Parties to its Second Periodic
Report on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
10. Of general concern, for all States Parties, should be the fact that para. 8
(CRC/C/VAT/CO/2) offers a controversial new approach to “jurisdiction”, which
clearly contradicts the general understanding of this concept in international
a) In particular, para. 8 contends that “by ratifying the Convention”
a State Party has “committed itself to implementing the Convention”
through “individuals and institutions” living and operating in the
territories of other States. In
the case of the Holy See, this amounts to a sort of “universal legal
jurisdiction” over most States Parties.
b) This interpretation is contrary to obligations under the CRC, which are
facie territorial, taking into consideration the Vienna Convention on the
Law of Treaties, and a facial reading of the treaty together with the general understanding of jurisdiction as previously discussed
in the Holy See’s Written Replies.
c) Due to the grave implications of this erroneous approach for relations between
States, the Holy See emphasizes, once again, that in accordance with
international law and State practice, the Holy See does not ratify a treaty on
behalf of every Catholic in the world, and therefore, does not have obligations
to “implement” the Convention within the territories of other States Parties on
behalf of Catholics, no matter how they are organized.
d) Moreover, the Holy See’s religious
and moral mission, which
transcends geographical boundaries, cannot be transformed into a sort of
“universal legal jurisdiction”, which somehow becomes a matter under the mandate
of a treaty body.
11. Before moving on to other issues, the Holy See, while maintaining its position
on jurisdiction set out in Written Reply no. 32, wishes to correct the statement
made in Written Reply no. 34 (CRC/C/VAT/Q/2/Add.1), wherein it refers to the “openness
of the religious sisters to engage in discussions about issues of compensation,
and their willingness to pay part of a compensation package developed by State
authorities”. Rather, religious sisters had agreed with the Government of
Ireland to pay a specific sum of money in relation to a “redress scheme”
in 2002 concerning other entities, which did not include the institution under
12. As for the recommendations concerning the situations described in paragraphs
37-39 of the Concluding Observations (CRC/C/VAT/CO/2), such matters fall within the jurisdiction of the States in
which the Catholic institutions operate. The functioning of these entities must
be carried out in accordance with national laws and with respect for the competent State authorities tasked with investigating, prosecuting and punishing crimes or other illicit
acts committed against children by members of these institutions.
13. As for para. 40 (b) (CRC/C/VAT/CO/2), the Holy See emphasizes that the criminal
laws of Vatican City State punish acts of violence against children residing
within this territory in accordance with due process and appropriate penalties
upon findings of guilt: Law n. VIII, Complementary Norms in Criminal Matter,
of 11 July 2013, Title II, and Law n. IX: Law Modifying the Criminal Code and
Criminal Procedure, of 11 July 2013.
14. In regard to recommendations concerning the accession to international
instruments contained in Concluding Observations (CRC/C/VAT/CO/2),
paragraphs 44 (j) and 62, the Holy See reaffirms that it operates within the
international community like other subjects of international law, while
maintaining its specific mission and end. For this reason, the Holy See has
always sought to become a part of international multilateral conventions
regulating various areas, also on behalf of Vatican City State, with the
necessary evaluation of these conventional norms in respect to its nature and to
the particular function of its internal juridical system. Pursuant to the
principles and rules of international law, the Holy See accedes to conventions
that do not contradict the character of its mission and the nature of its own
internal juridical system or that directly support specific norms within its
juridical system. Moreover, it is noteworthy to recall the well-known position of the Holy See that it becomes a State Party to certain conventions in order to contribute with its moral support in the
construction of an opinio juris to encourage a rapid entry into force of
the conventions and their effective observance.
15. Moreover, the Holy See highlights that the Committee makes certain
recommendations that disregard principles of international law that underpin
every treaty (e.g. the sovereign equality and independence of all States, the
non-interference in the domestic affairs of States as well as the principles of
free consent, good faith and pacta sunt servanda rule).
For example, certain Concluding Observations (CRC/C/VAT/CO/2) : a)
disregard a State Party’s own account of what it consented to when it ratified a
treaty; b) adopt an erroneous
view of the State Party based on an unusual interpretation of what was perceived
to be the internal law of a State Party;c)
recommend investigations, the enactment of laws, and the development of policies
within the territorial jurisdiction of other States
(with indifference to the territorial sovereignty of other States and the
principle of non-interference in the domestic affairs of other States); and d) ignore the reservations and
interpretative declaration of a State Party. 
16. The Holy See is concerned about the lack of respect for the text of a treaty, which
has been carefully drafted by States Parties, including the Holy See itself (the
fourth State Party to ratify the CRC). In this regard, the Holy See in its
Second Periodic Report and Written Replies has duly noted the
introduction of new terms or principles by the Committee, which in its view
marks a departure from the ordinary meaning of the words in the text.
The Holy See ratified the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties and is bound to follow the
rules of interpretation therein. In addition, the Holy See reaffirms its own
reservations, interpretative declaration as well as long standing principles
recognized in international law as well as the Convention.
17. Of particular concern in the Concluding Observations is the advancement
of controversial new expressions not contained in the Convention, and related
principles, which contradict the ordinary meaning of the words in the text, and
fail to respect the spirit of the CRC. In addition, these particular expressions
are the subject matter of much debate on the international level, and certainly, have not been agreed to or otherwise accepted by the
a) In a clear and open violation of the
“ordinary meaning” of the terms of the CRC “in their context and in the light of its object
and purpose”, the Concluding Observations advocate for “abortion.”
This is completely unacceptable and such a recommendation is incompatible with
the fundamental purpose and function of the international legal order.
According to the CRC, children, defined as under 18 (art. 1), require “legal
protection, before as well as after birth,” (preamble para. 9). By doing do,
the Concluding Observations derogates from the child’s “right to life”
(art. 6) as well as his or her right to “pre-natal and post-natal health care”
(art. 24.2.d). In addition, it deviates from the principle that children should
not be discriminated against on the basis of “birth” (art. 2).
b) The Holy See recognizes the variety of situations in which people live, and many
due to tragic circumstances, however, the Concluding Observations promote
“diverse forms of family”
as a matter of principle. This expression is not found in the Convention,
nor is it defined. It is worth noting that according to the International Bill
of Human Rights both States and society have an obligation to protect the
family, based on marriage between one man and one woman, the “natural and
fundamental group unit of society”.
The Convention recognizes this principle when it incorporates the International
Bill of Human Rights in preamble paragraphs. 3-4 and acknowledges the family as
“the fundamental group of society and the natural
environment for the growth and well-being of …children,” which
afforded the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its
responsibilities within the community” (preamble para. 5, CRC).
c) In further regard to the natural family, the term “family planning” is
used in the Convention. The Holy See pursuant to its reservation interprets the
expression to mean only morally acceptable methods, that is, the natural methods. The expression “contraception”
is not contained in the text of the CRC.
d) With respect to the rights of parents, “both parents have common
responsibilities for the upbringing and development of the child” (art. 18
CRC), they have prior rights “to choose the kind of education that shall be
given to their children” (preamble para. 3, CRC incorporates UDHR art. 26.3
by reference) and education should include “development of respect for the
child’s parents” (art. 29 (1) (c) CRC). However, a State Party is urged to
ensure “sexual and reproductive health education” and “sexual and
reproductive health and information.”
These expressions are not found in the text of the Convention nor are they
defined in international law. On this matter, the Holy See takes the opportunity
to reaffirm that the education of children (defined in art.1 CRC), boys and girls, including
education about authentic human love, human sexuality, married love and related
matters are primarily and fundamentally the right, duty, and responsibility of
parents. The international principle regarding religious freedom recognizes that parents have the right to ensure that their child
receives a religious
and moral education in conformity with their own convictions, which also
guarantees the freedom to teach a religion or belief.
e) In the Concluding Observations, the principle of equality between men and
women (boys and girls) (art. 2 CRC; cf. preamble para. 5, UDHR) and the
principle of non-discrimination on the grounds of sex (preamble para. 3, art. 2,
CRC) are discussed within the context of “gender”, which is a word not
contained in the text, and apparently employed to incorporate a larger
ideological platform. In this latter regard, references to inherent dignity
(preamble paras. 1-2, CRC) and inherent equality between the two sexes are
dismissed as examples of “gender-based discrimination”,
while subjective lifestyle choices and attractions are promoted as a matter of “rights”:
reference to the term “gender”, the Holy See reiterates its position set
out in para. 36 of its Second Periodic Report.
18. The fundamental premises contained in Concluding Observation para. 8
distort the entire Concluding Observations and launch the Committee into
matters protected by the right to freedom of religion.
For example, suggestions are made relating to: a) the interpretation of
scripture; b) changes to faith
and morals; d) amendments to
canon law; and e) revision of
19. Moreover, many of the recommendations noted in paras. 16-17 supra, may
also be viewed through the prism of religious freedom, in particular regard to
the autonomy of religious communities to express their doctrine, manifest their
faith and worship. From this perspective, the Holy See offered a more profound understanding
of inherent human dignity, as founded on the image and likeness of God, and
equality between men and women, as being in harmony with the fundamental
complementarity of men and women and their call to communion. In response,
however, the Concluding Observations state: “complementarity and
equality in dignity [are] two concepts which differ from equality in law and
practice” and “justify discriminatory legislation and policies.”
In addition, the Holy See emphasizes that the “concept of human rights”
cannot be juxtaposed with the freedom of religion, as if the latter did not
constitute a fundamental human right.
20. Other comments, for example, made in the Concluding Observations promote
negative stereotyping and manifestations of intolerance against members of the
Catholic religion. For example, the Concluding Observations allege that
the “complementarity” between the two sexes and the “equality in
dignity” of males and females “justify discriminatory legislation and
practices”. In addition, promotion of the protection of the family, based on marriage between one man
and one woman means that “Church run institutions” discriminate against “children
on the basis of their family situation.”
A reasonable observer might argue that the principle of non-discrimination has
been applied in an unprincipled way, namely as a sword against freedom of
21. Moreover, many of the recommendations noted in paras. 17-20 supra, deal
with matters to which the Holy See has entered reservations and interpretative
declaration, and therefore do not respect arts. 2 (d); 19-21 of Vienna
Convention on the Law of Treaties.
Indeed, they completely disregard the Declaration of the State Party at the
moment of its accession to the CRC, according to which “…the Holy See, in
acceding to this Convention, does not intend to prescind in any way from its
specific mission which is of a religious and moral character.”
22. The Concluding Observations include inaccurate statements that have no
Moreover, many materials presented by the Holy See, especially regarding child
protection were dismissed or ignored.
Lastly, it is noteworthy, that answers given by a State Party not considered in
line with certain suggestions does not mean that a reply to a question has not
been given. For example, the Holy See was repeatedly asked the same query on
various matters (e.g. discrimination based on sex, views of the child, the
meaning of family, reservations, new expressions not accepted by the State
Party, and matters falling within the territorial jurisdiction of other States).
Indeed, the interactive dialogue largely involved the repetition of questions in
the Committee’s List of Issues to which the Holy See had previously
responded in its Written Replies, which, in turn, left the impression
that the interactive dialogue was predetermined by Concluding Observations
that had already been prepared.
23. In conclusion, as was clearly explained during the interactive dialogue with the
Committee on 16 January 2014, and keeping in mind the concerns raised in paras.
6-10; 15-22 supra, the Holy See:
a) Reiterates its commitment to make protection of the child a priority, in all
situations, and continue to take appropriate measures pursuant to the Convention
and its Optional Protocols, as unequivocally set out in its Reports, Written Replies and statements during the interactive dialogue;
b) Confirms its willingness to implement the Convention and its Optional Protocols,
in accordance with its own nature and mission, and to consider, in a similar
way, the pertinent suggestions proposed by the Committee, in line with its moral
and religious mission, for a better implementation of its treaty obligations and
for a systematic preparation and presentation of its Periodic Reports;
c) Reaffirms also as a sovereign of the Vatican City State, that implementation of
the norms of the Convention and its Optional Protocols, as well as the relevant
recommendations by the Committee, will be exclusively considered in light of its
specific nature and mission (see paras. 3 and 6 supra), as recognized by
the international juridical system.
 The Committee on the Rights of the Child,
Concluding Observations on the Second Periodic Report of the Holy See on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, CRC/C/VAT/CO/2, 31
January 2014; The Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations on the Initial Report of the Holy See on the Optional Protocol to the Convention
on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child
Pornography, CRC/C/OPSC/VAT/CO/1, 31 January 2014; The Committee on the Rights of the Child,
Concluding Observations on the Initial Report of the Holy See on the Optional Protocol to the
Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed
Conflict, CRC/C/OPAC/VAT/CO/1, 31 January 2014.
 See e.g.,preamble and art. 26, Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1155, p. 331 (23 May 1969).
 Reservations of the Holy See: "a) [The Holy See] interprets the phrase
`Family planning education and services' in article 24.2, to mean only those
methods of family planning which it considers morally acceptable, that is, the
natural methods of family planning.
"b) [The Holy See] interprets the articles of the Convention in a way which
safeguards the primary and inalienable rights of parents, in particular insofar
as these rights concern education (articles 13 and 28), religion (article 14),
association with others (article 15) and privacy (article 16).
"c) [The Holy See declares] that the application of the Convention be
compatible in practice with the particular nature of the Vatican City State and
of the sources of its objective law (art. 1, Law of 7 June 1929, n. 11) and, in
consideration of its limited extent, with its legislation in the matters of
citizenship, access and residence."
 Declaration of the Holy See on the CRC: “The Holy See regards the
present Convention as a proper and laudable instrument aimed at protecting the
rights and interests of children, who are 'that precious treasure given to each
generation as a challenge to its wisdom and humanity' (Pope John Paul II, 26
"The Holy See recognizes that the Convention represents an enactment of
principles previously adopted by the United Nations, and once effective as a
ratified instrument, will safeguard the rights of the child before as well as
after birth, as expressly affirmed in the `Declaration of the Rights of the
Child' [Res. 136 (XIV)] and restated in the ninth preambular paragraph of the
Convention. The Holy See remains confident that the ninth preambular paragraph
will serve as the perspective through which the rest of the Convention will be
interpreted, in conformity with article 31 of the Vienna Convention on the Law
of Treaties of 23 May 1969.
“By acceding to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Holy See intends
to give renewed expression to its constant concern for the well-being of
children and families. In consideration of its singular nature and position,
the Holy See, in acceding to this Convention, does not intend to prescind in any
way from its specific mission which is of a religious and moral character”.
 Apostolic Letter, issued MOTU PROPRIO, Roman Pontiff Francis, On the
Jurisdiction of Judicial Authorities of Vatican City State in Criminal Matters,
11 July 2013, entered into force 1 September 2013.
 The Holy See, Initial Report on the Convention on the Rights of the
Child, CRC/C/3/Add.27, March 28, 1994, at paras. 1-2; The Holy See,
Second Periodic Report on the Convention on the Rights of the Child,
CRC/C/VAT/2, October 22, 2012, at paras. 1-5; The Holy See, Initial Report on
the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale
of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Prostitution, CRC/C/OPSC/VAT/1,
November 8 2012, at paras. 4-5; The Holy See, Initial Periodic Report to the
Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed
Conflict, CRC/C/OPAC/VAT/1, October 22, 2012, at paras. 4-5.
 The Holy See, Written Replies to the List of Issues in relation to its
Second Periodic Report on the Convention on the Rights of the Child,
CRC/C/VAT/Q/2 Add.1, January 9, 2014, at paras. 6-8; The Holy See, Written
Replies to the List of Issues in relation to its Initial Report on the Optional
Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children,
Child Prostitution and Child Prostitution, CRC/C/OPSC/VAT/Q/1 Add.1 January
9, 2014, at paras. 6-8.
 The Holy See, Presentation of Reports to the Committee on the Rights of
the Child at the Interactive Dialogue, 65th Session of the Committee
on the Rights of the Child (13-31 January 2014), 16 January 2014.
 The “moral authority” or “moral leadership” of the Holy See, referred to several
times by the Committee (see e.g., CRC/C/OPSC/VAT/CO/1, supra note
1, at paras. 16, 21), does not constitute legally binding authority over anyone.
Such leadership cannot be transformed into a treaty obligation. That the central
organ of the Church has openly “shared” best practices, especially about
child protection going well beyond its strict obligations under the CRC, should
not be misinterpreted as suggesting that intra-Church matters fall within the
mandate of a treaty body.
 CRC/C/VAT/CO/2, supra note 1, at para. 8; see also
CRC/C/OPSC/VAT/CO/1, supra note 1, at para. 3; see the same line of
reasoning in CRC/C/OPAC/VAT/CO/1, supra note 1, at para. 7, 13-14.
 See e.g., CRC/C/VAT/CO/2, supra note 1, at para. 41 (“The Committee is also
concerned that in spite of its considerable influence on Catholic families the
Holy See has still not adopted a comprehensive strategy to prevent abuse and
neglect in the home”). See also paras. 22; 32 (c); 41-43; 51.
See e.g., Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 22 (48) (art.18), Doc.
 CRC/C/VAT/2, supra note 6, at para. 97.
 CRC/C/VAT/Q/2/Add.1, supra note 7, at para. 8.
 CRC/C/VAT/2, supra note 6, at para. 97; see also e.g.,
Comité des droits de l’enfant, Soixante-cinquième session Compte rendu
analytique de la 1852ͤ séance, CRC/C/SR.1852, 21 janvier, 2014, at paras. 36, 41- 42.
 CRC/C/VAT/2, supra note 6, at para. 98.
Id. at paras. 98 a-h.
 See e.g.,Convention on the Rights of the Child, G.A. Res. 44/25, at art. 49 (2), U.N. Doc. A/Res/44/25 (20 November 1989). In addition, the argument is framed in a manner that contradicts the plain
meaning of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which, according to art.
49 (2) of the CRC, provides that States Parties are bound by their treaty
obligations when the treaty enters “into force on the thirtieth day after
deposit by such [twentieth] State of its instrument of ratification or
accession”, and not upon ratification, as suggested by the Concluding
 CRC/C/VAT/CO/2, supra note 1, at para. 8; see also
CRC/C/OPSC/VAT/CO/1, supra note 1, at para. 3; see e.g., the same
line of reasoning in CRC/C/OPAC/VAT/CO/1, supra note 1, at para. 7,
CRC/C/VAT/Q/2 Add.1, supra note 7, at para. 10; Cf.
Convention on the Rights of the Child, supra note 20, at arts. 2; 10.2; 7.2, 20.2; 22.1, 44.2; 44.6.
 See e.g., CRC/C/VAT/CO/2, supra note 1, at paras.16; 18; 20; 22; 24; 30; 32;
34; 40; 42; 49; 51; 53; 57; 59; 61; 63; CRC/C/OPSC/VAT/CO/1, supra note
1, at paras. 16, 18, 24, 26; CRC/C/OPAC/VAT/CO/1, supra note 1, at paras.
7, 13-14, 18.
 See. e.g., the recognition of these principles in the preamble of the Vienna Convention on
the Law of Treaties, supra note 2.
 CRC/C/VAT/CO/2, supra note 1, at para. 8; See also
CRC/C/OPSC/VAT/CO/1, supra note 1, at para. 3.
 See e.g., CRC/C/VAT/CO/2, supra note 1, at paras. 16; 18; 20; 22; 24; 30; 32;
34; 40; 42; 49; 51; 53; 57; 59; 61; 63.
 CRC/C/VAT/CO/2, para.12 (reservations, generally); para. 31 (reservation
on the rights and duties of parents); paras. 36, 56 (reservation on family
planning); para.55 (interpretative declaration on the right to life).
 See e.g., CRC/C/VAT/2, supra note 6, at paras. 18; 36 and both sets of Written
Replies, generally: CRC/C/VAT/Q/2 Add.1 and CRC/C/OPSC/VAT/Q/1 Add.1,
supra note 7.
 See e.g., CRC/C/VAT/2, supra note 6, at paras. 23 a-n: (e.g. equality between women and men; special protection due to the family, the
natural and fundamental unit of society; the right to life of the child, before
as well as after birth; and the prior right of parents before the State to
educate their child).
 In particular regard to these disputed terms, the Holy See takes the
opportunity once again to reaffirm its position: “The three Reservations and
the Interpretative Declaration are even more important given the attempted
redefinition or creation of new terms and/or rights and/or principles, which do
not correspond to an authentic and holistic vision of the human person and his
or her rights and duties, nor present a good faith interpretation of the
Convention’s text. The Holy See has never agreed to such terms, rights or
principles often contained in the Committee’s General Comments and its
Concluding Observations, and they certainly do not enjoy international
consensus.” (CRC/C/VAT/2, para. 18).
 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, supra note 2, at art. 31. 1.
 See e.g., CRC/C/VAT/CO/2, supra note 1, at para. 55.
 See e.g., Rome Statute of International Criminal Court, U.N. Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an
International Criminal Court, 17 July 1998, U.N. Doc. A/CONF. 183/9 (1998),
art. 7.2. f (situations that are relevant to pregnancy “shall not in any way
be interpreted as affecting national laws relating to pregnancy”).
 See e.g., CRC/C/VAT/CO/2, supra note 1, at para. 48.
 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, G.A. Res. 217 (III) A, at art. 16, U.N. Doc. A/RES/217 (III) (10 December
1948); International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, G.A., Res.
2200A (XXI ), at art. 23, U.N. Doc. A/6316 (16 December 1966); International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, G.A. Res. 2200 (XXI) A, at
10., U.N. Doc. A/6316 (16 December 1966).
 In its first reservation the Holy See stated the following: (“ [The
Holy See] interprets the phrase `Family planning education and services' in
article 24.2, to mean only those methods of family planning which it considers
morally acceptable, that is, the natural methods of family planning” )..
See also the Holy See’s response to the Committee on this topic CRC/C/VAT/2,
supra note 6, at para. 51.
 See e.g., CRC/C/VAT/CO/2, supra note 1, at para. 56-57.
 Id., at para. 57 (c).
 Id., at para. 30-31; See also the Holy See’s Position on the Conference
Outcome Document at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing (1995);
See also the Holy See’s Position on the Outcome Document at the
International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo (1994 ).
 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights supra
note 36, at art. 13.3; See also HRC, General Comment No. 22 (48)
(art.18), Doc. CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.4, at paras. 6 and 8.
 See e.g., CRC/C/VAT/CO/2 , supra note 1, at para. 27-28.
 CRC/C/VAT/2, supra note 6, at para. 36 (“The Holy See
understands gender “according to ordinary usage in the United Nations context,
associates itself with the common meaning of that word, in languages where it
exists…[as] grounded in biological sexual identity, male or female….”).
 See, e.g. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, supra note 36, at art. 18;
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, supra note 36, at
 CRC/C/VAT/CO/2, supra note 1, at para. 40.d.
 See e.g., the Concluding Observations take issue with: “statements and
declarations on homosexuality” (CRC/C/VAT/CO/2, supra note 1, at para.
25); the principle of “complementarity and equality in dignity” between
the two sexes (Id., at para. 22); promotion of the family, based on
marriage between one man and one woman (Id., at para. 48); the Holy
See’s “position on abortion” and “contraception” (See e.g.
Id., at paras. 55, 56, respectively).
 See e.g., CRC/C/VAT/CO/2, supra note 1, at paras. 14; 40.b; 40; See also
e.g. CRC/C/OPSC/VAT/CO/1, supra note 1, at paras. 11-12, 30.
 CRC/C/VAT/CO/2, supra note 1, at paras. 16; 18; 20; 22; 24; 30; 32;
34; 40; 42; 49; 51; 53; 57; 59; 61; 63.
 Id., at para. 27 (The Holy See argued that each “human being is created in the
image and likeness of God”. Moreover, it contended that the principle of
complementarity between the two sexes better reflected an objective reality and
avoided two extreme views of equality: one that would promote indistinct
uniformity, on the one hand, or perpetuate irreconcilable and conflicting
differences, on the other hand).
 Id., at paras. 27-28.
 Id., at paras. 48-49.
 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, supra note 2, at art. 2, (d): (“‘Reservation’ means a unilateral statement, however phrased or named,
made by a State, when signing, ratifying, accepting, approving or acceding to a
treaty, whereby it purports to exclude or to modify the legal effect of certain
provisions of the treaty in their application to that State”).
 See e.g., Declaration of the Holy See to the Convention on the Rights of the Child,
supra note 5.
 See e.g., CRC/C/VAT/CO/2, supra note 1, at paras. 29; 43; 60; 60.c; See also
e.g. CRC/C/OPSC/VAT/CO/1, supra note 1, at paras. 9, 29.b.
 See e.g., CRC/C/VAT/2 supra note 6, at paras. 96-99; CRC/C/OPSC/VAT/1 supra note 6, at paras. 26-31; CRC/C/VAT/Q/2 Add.1,
supra note 7, at paras. 43-51; CRC/C/OPSC/VAT/Q/1 Add.1, supra
note 7, at paras. 10.4-10.4.b; CRC/C/SR.1852, supra 17, at paras. 36, 38, 40-43, 46; and Committee on the Rights of the Child, Sixty-fifth
Session, Summary Records of the 1853rd meeting, CRC/C/SR.1853, at paras. 9,15, 29, 31, 33, 36, 38, 41, 46, 50, 51, 53, 55, 56, 65, 67.
 It is worth emphasizing, that the specific nature of the Holy See was known during the drafting phases of the
Convention and its Optional Protocols, accepted by the States Parties to the
Convention and recognized at the time of the ratification, including its
reservations and interpretative declaration made in accordance with the Vienna
Convention on the Law of Treaties, supra note 2.