Vatican City, February 5 - A new United Nations report condemning the Catholic Church's handling of a worldwide sexual abuse scandal appears to have been written before Holy See representatives even had a chance to tell their side of the story, a senior Vatican official said Wednesday. Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See's permanent observer to the United Nations in Geneva, testified last month at a day-long hearing before the UN committee on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which issued a scathing report on Wednesday. The negative tone and conclusions of the report came as a "surprise," said Tomasi. "It seems that had already been prepared before the meeting of the (UN) committee with the delegation of the Holy See," said Tomasi. That suggests the report had a pre-determined "ideological line" that it followed in its findings, he added. The committee denounced the Vatican's behavior in allegedly hiding decades of sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children by clergymen and urged the Church to make a full disclosure of its records so that culprits and "those who concealed their crimes" could face justice. In its wide-ranging and scathing report, the committee also called on the Holy See to "immediately remove" all clergy who are known or suspected child abusers and turn them over to civil authorities. In addition to concerns about sexual abuse hidden by the Church, the committee also reviewed other practices of the Holy See that touch on the lives of children including several deep-rooted policies on controversial topics including abortion and homosexuality. "This committee has not done a good job for the United Nations...seeking to introduce and ask the Holy See to change its teaching is not negotiable," Tomasi said. He said this added to his concerns about an ideological approach taken the committee, and that a committee concerned with the rights of children should care about them before and after birth - a slam against abortion proponents.
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