Saturday, 19 April 2008
Pope at the UN
Pope Benedict yesterday addressed the general assembly of the United Nations, an organisation which he praised, calling it a "centre for the harmonising of the actions of nations". He spoke of the "common goals of peace and development", going on to challenge the UN in the words of Pope John Paul II to be a "moral centre" and a "family of nations."
He explained that even if the "universal objectives" of the UN "do not coincide with the total common good of the human family, [they] undoubtedly represent a fundamental part of that good."
He went on to speak about human rights and the rights of "the person as image of the Creator." He spoke of the UN's founding at the end of the tempestuous Second World War, in which "natural reason was abandoned", leading to the "(gross) violation..(of) human dignity."
The Pope also spoke of religious freedom. "The full guarantee of religious liberty cannot be limited to the free exercise of worship, but has to give due consideration to the public dimension of religion, and hence to the possibility of believers playing their part in building the social order." This in particular is clearly a challenge to countries such as Saudi Arabia and the People's Republic of China who continue to routinely persecute Christians.
Pope Benedict even managed to use the 'J' word:
"In my recent Encyclical, Spe Salvi, I indicated that "every generation has the task of engaging anew in the arduous search for the right way to order human affairs" (no. 25). For Christians, this task is motivated by the hope drawn from the saving work of Jesus Christ. That is why the Church is happy to be associated with the activity of this distinguished Organization"