From the Pulpit
AS the date for the United Nations (un) conference on women -- in Beijing in September -- approaches, the Vatican is chafing for a repeat showdown. It has released a statement spitting fire and brimstone at the "sinful" positions taken by the us and other Western countries over abortion, contraception, gender and family, all issues on the Beijing meet's agenda.
The un draft document gives a prejudiced picture of women, placing them outside a role as "mother within a family", blazed the Vatican spokesperson, Joaquin Navarro-Valls. These are impositions by wealthy liberal Western countries on the more traditional developing world, he said.
It is now evident that the top hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church is preparing for a battle similar to the one waged last year at the Cairo population meet, where the Vatican had fobbed off a move to acknowledge abortion as a human right in the final consensus document. The us, the Vatican's bugbear, is trying its utmost to avoid a head-on confrontation.