Silvano Maria Tomasi
|The Most Reverend
|Permanent Observer of Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva|
Archbishop Tomasi at WIPO Diplomatic Conference on the Treaty for the Blind in Marrakech
|Installed||10 June 2003|
|Ordination||31 May 1965|
|Consecration||17 August 1996
by Angelo Sodano
|Birth name||Silvano Maria Tomasi|
12 October 1940 |
Casoni di Mussolente, Italy
|Alma mater||Fordham University|
|Coat of arms|
|Reference style||The Most Reverend|
|Spoken style||Your Excellency|
Silvano Maria Tomasi C.S. (12 October 1940 -) is a Catholic Archbishop. As of 2014[update] he was the Permanent Observer of Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva.
He was born in Casoni di Mussolente, Italy. On 31 May 1965 he was ordained as priest of the Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Charles. He earned his Ph.D. in sociology from Fordham University. He co-founded the Center for Migration Studies, and wrote a book on the historic legacy of New York's Italian parishes.
On 27 June 1989 he was appointed Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples by Pope John Paul II. He was appointed as Titular Archbishop of Cercina on the same day in 1996 and appointed as Apostolic Nuncio to Eritrea and Ethiopia, ordained on 17 August 1996, and transferred to the titular see of Acelum. He served in Eritrea and Ethiopia until he was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Djibouti on 23 December 2000, where he remained until he was appointed observer to the UN on 10 June 2003.
Tomasi is one of the very few nuncios appointed from outside the ranks of the Holy See's diplomatic service, and who did not attend the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, which trains the Holy See's diplomats; graduates include Michael Louis Fitzgerald, Aldo Giordano and Charles John Brown.
His brother Fr Lydio is pastor of Holy Rosary Church in Washington D.C.
He was widely criticised in September 2009 following a speech in which he sought to favourably compare the Church's record on child sex abuse with that of other organisations by arguing that "Of all priests involved in the abuses, 80 to 90 percent belong to this sexual orientation minority which is sexually engaged with adolescent boys between the ages of 11 and 17" and "As the Catholic church has been busy cleaning its own house, it would be good if other institutions and authorities, where the major part of abuses are reported, could do the same and inform the media about it."
Archbishop Tomasi "encouraged passage of an international protocol that would give children a direct line of communication to local and international authorities when they are victims of violence or their rights are violated....Tomasi...said the measure "will become a significant instrument of the human rights system." The document is in addition to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Archbishop Tomasi spoke of it Monday, June 6, 2011 in Geneva during a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council...." 
Speaking on Wednesday, 8 June 2011 at the U.N. International Labor Conference in Geneva, Archbishop Tomasi urged that all involved in "the burgeoning and mercurial economic system" work to foster fundamental principles that ensure respect for the common good and protection of the most vulnerable.
In 2014 the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child issued a report described as "a scathing indictment of the Vatican’s handling of child sexual abuse cases involving clerics, releasing a report that included criticism of church teachings on homosexuality, gender equality and abortion" which was seen as an indictment of the Catholic Church’s handling of child sexual abuse cases involving clerics, going beyond how the church managed abuse allegations to include criticism of its teachings on homosexuality, gender equality and abortion. Archbishop Tomasi appeared before a U.N. committee in Geneva. Vatican officials said they were still studying the findings, but responded angrily to what they described as recommendations that were ideologically biased. Fr Thomas Rosica said that the U.N. report wrongly looked at Catholicism as a single organisation. Tomasi said that he suspected pro-gay rights NGOs had influenced the committee and "reinforced an ideological line" in the UN.
No matter how sophisticated autonomous weapons systems are, they can never comply with international human rights law. “Meaningful human involvement is absolutely essential in decisions affecting the life and death of human beings,” Archbishop Tomasi, told experts meeting May 13-16 to discuss lethal autonomous weapons systems such as drones. Archbishop Tomasi said it was essential “to recognise that autonomous weapon systems can never replace the human capacity for moral reasoning, including in the context of war.” “The development of autonomous weapon systems will ultimately lead to widespread proliferation,” the archbishop said, and “the development of complex autonomous weapon systems which remove the human actor from lethal decision-making is short-sighted and may irreversibly alter the nature of warfare in a less humane direction, leading to consequences we cannot possibly foresee, but that will in any case increase the dehumanisation of warfare.”
Archbishop Tomasi told Vatican Radio that “what seems to be particularly important in the letter of the Holy Father to Ban Ki-moon is the expressions that he uses: the tragic situation ‘compels’ the international community. There is a moral imperative, so to (speak), a necessity to act.” The archbishop added that the UN charter notes that at times, “dialogue, negotiations, fail and large numbers of people find themselves at risk: at risk of genocide, at risk of having their fundamental, their basic human rights violated. In this case, when every other means has been attempted, article 42 of the Charter of the United Nations becomes possible justification for not only imposing sanctions of economic nature on the state or the group or the region that violates the basic human rights of people, but also to use force. All the force that is necessary to stop this evil and this tragedy.”
In 2015 Archbishop Tomasi said jihadists were committing "genocide" and must be stopped. The Vatican traditionally opposes military intervention in the region. However, Pope Francis decried the beheading in February of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians by ISIS in Libya. The militants have targeted minority religious groups in the parts of Syria and Iraq under their control. Thousands more people have been forced to flee their homes. In an interview with US Catholic website Crux, Archbishop Tomasi said: "What's needed is a co-ordinated and well-thought-out coalition to do everything possible to achieve a political settlement without violence. "But if that's not possible, then the use of force will be necessary." He added: "We have to stop this kind of genocide. Otherwise we'll be crying out in the future about why we didn't so something, why we allowed such a terrible tragedy to happen."
- Washington Post newspaper: U.N. panel blasts Vatican handling of clergy sex abuse, church teachings on gays, abortion, 6 February 2014
- Guardian newspaper: Vatican envoy rejects UN panel's critical verdict on clerical abuse scandal - Committee attacks church's handling of sex abuse allegations, but archbishop says findings are outdated and ideological, 5 February 2014
|Permanent Observer of Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva
10 June 2003 – present