Benedict XVI to the United Nations

Here is the text of the Holy Father’s address to the United Nations with my emphases and comments.   [The English voice over from the UN was slightly different in a few minor places than what was released by the Holy See.]

Mr President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

As I begin my address to this Assembly, I would like first of all to express to you, Mr President, my sincere gratitude for your kind words. My thanks go also to the Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, for inviting me to visit the headquarters of this Organization and for the welcome that he has extended to me. I greet the Ambassadors and Diplomats from the Member States, and all those present. Through you, I greet the peoples who are represented here. They look to this institution to carry forward the founding inspiration to establish a "centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends" of peace and development (cf. Charter of the United Nations, article 1.2-1.4). As Pope John Paul II expressed it in 1995, the Organization should be "a moral centre where all the nations of the world feel at home and develop a shared awareness of being, as it were, a ‘family of nations’" (Address to the General Assembly of the United Nations on the 50th Anniversary of its Foundation, New York, 5 October 1995, 14).

Through the United Nations, States have established universal objectives which, even if they do not coincide with the total common good of the human family [Note well this distinction] , undoubtedly represent a fundamental part of that good. [It isn’t perfect, but it is useful.] The founding principles of the Organization – the desire for peace, the quest for justice, respect for the dignity of the person, humanitarian cooperation and assistance – express the just aspirations of the human spirit, and constitute the ideals which should underpin international relations. As my predecessors Paul VI and John Paul II have observed from this very podium, all this is something that the Catholic Church and the Holy See follow attentively and with interest, seeing in your activity an example of how issues and conflicts concerning the world community can be subject to common regulation. [subject to common regulation] The United Nations embodies the aspiration for a "greater degree of international ordering" (John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 43), inspired and governed by the principle of subsidiarity, [I think this mightbe one of the key issues – to what level should issues be handled at the level of the UN: in other words butt out, UN, when you don’t need to get involved.] and therefore capable of responding to the demands of the human family through binding international rules and through structures capable of harmonizing the day-to-day unfolding of the lives of peoples. This is all the more necessary at a time when we experience the obvious paradox of a multilateral consensus that continues to be in crisis because it is still subordinated to the decisions of a few, whereas the world’s problems call for interventions in the form of collective action by the international community.

Indeed, questions of security, development goals, reduction of local and global inequalities, protection of the environment, of resources and of the climate, require all international leaders to act jointly and to show a readiness to work in good faith, respecting the law, [which means there has to be a body of international law – the Holy Father is really talking about a certain measure of formalized globalization, it seems.] and promoting solidarity with the weakest regions of the planet. I am thinking especially of those countries in Africa and other parts of the world which remain on the margins of authentic integral development, and are therefore at risk of experiencing only the negative effects of globalization. [Here is a negative result of globalization.] In the context of international relations, it is necessary to recognize the higher role played by rules and structures that are intrinsically ordered [natural law, at least] to promote the common good, and therefore to safeguard human freedom.  [Read this comment against the backdrop of what the E.U. did, in rejecting, explicitly, any mention of GOD in their constitution.] These regulations do not limit freedom. On the contrary, they promote it when they prohibit behaviour and actions which work against the common good, curb its effective exercise and hence compromise the dignity of every human person. In the name of freedom, there has to be a correlation between rights and duties, by which every person is called to assume responsibility for his or her choices, made as a consequence of entering into relations with others. [Freedom not to do what you want, but what is right.]  Here our thoughts turn also to the way the results of scientific research and technological advances [I suppose this refers mainly to genetic research.] have sometimes been applied. Notwithstanding the enormous benefits that humanity can gain, some instances of this represent a clear violation of the order of creation, to the point where not only is the sacred character of life contradicted, but the human person and the family are robbed of their natural identity. Likewise, international action to preserve the environment and to protect various forms of life on earth must not only guarantee a rational use of technology and science, but must also rediscover the authentic image of creation. [This seems to go somewhat farther than natural law.] This never requires a choice to be made between science and ethics: rather it is a question of adopting a scientific method that is truly respectful of ethical imperatives.

Recognition of the unity of the human family, and attention to the innate dignity of every man and woman, today find renewed emphasis in the principle of the responsibility to protect. This has only recently been defined, but it was already present implicitly at the origins of the United Nations, and is now increasingly characteristic of its activity. Every State has the primary duty to protect its own population from grave and sustained violations of human rights, as well as from the consequences of humanitarian crises, whether natural or man-made. If States are unable to guarantee such protection, the international community must intervene with the juridical means [juridical] provided in the United Nations Charter and in other international instruments. The action of the international community and its institutions, provided that it respects the principles undergirding the international order, should never be interpreted as an unwarranted imposition or a limitation of sovereignty. On the contrary, it is indifference or failure to intervene that do the real damage. What is needed is a deeper search for ways of pre-empting and managing conflicts by exploring every possible diplomatic avenue, and giving attention and encouragement to even the faintest sign of dialogue or desire for reconciliation.  [It sounds like the Holy Father is addressing the world’s inaction in regard to places like Darfur and also perhaps referencing the conflict in Iraq.]

The principle of "responsibility to protect" was considered by the ancient ius gentium as the foundation of every action taken by those in government with regard to the governed: at the time when the concept of national sovereign States was first developing, the Dominican Friar Francisco de Vitoria, rightly considered as a precursor of the idea of the United Nations, [!] described this responsibility as an aspect of natural reason shared by all nations, and the result of an international order whose task it was to regulate relations between peoples. Now, as then, this principle has to invoke the idea of the person as image of the Creator, [this goes beyond natural law] the desire for the absolute and the essence of freedom. The founding of the United Nations, as we know, coincided with the profound upheavals that humanity experienced when reference to the meaning of transcendence and natural reason was abandoned, and in consequence, freedom and human dignity were grossly violated. [If you don’t consciously refer to natural law and a Creator, disaster occurs] When this happens, it threatens the objective foundations of the values inspiring and governing the international order and it undermines the cogent and inviolable principles formulated and consolidated by the United Nations. [He seems to be saying that the very reason for the UN, its very existence, depends on it integrating the right principles into their deliberations.] When faced with new and insistent challenges, it is a mistake to fall back on a pragmatic approach, limited to determining "common ground", minimal in content and weak in its effect.

This reference to human dignity, which is the foundation and goal of the responsibility to protect, leads us to the theme we are specifically focusing upon this year, which marks the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This document was the outcome of a convergence of different religious and cultural traditions, all of them motivated by the common desire to place the human person at the heart of institutions, laws and the workings of society, and to consider the human person essential for the world of culture, religion and science. Human rights are increasingly being presented as the common language and the ethical substratum of international relations. At the same time, the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of human rights all serve as guarantees safeguarding human dignity. It is evident, though, that the rights recognized and expounded in the Declaration apply to everyone by virtue of the common origin of the person, who remains the high-point of God’s creative design for the world and for history. They are based on the natural law inscribed on human hearts and present in different cultures and civilizations. Removing human rights from this context would mean restricting their range and yielding to a relativistic conception, according to which the meaning and interpretation of rights could vary and their universality would be denied in the name of different cultural, political, social and even religious outlooks. This great variety of viewpoints must not be allowed to obscure the fact that not only rights are universal, but so too is the human person, the subject of those rights. ["We hold these truths to be self-evident…"]

The life of the community, both domestically and internationally, clearly demonstrates that respect for rights, and the guarantees that follow from them, are measures of the common good that serve to evaluate the relationship between justice and injustice, development and poverty, security and conflict. The promotion of human rights remains the most effective strategy for eliminating inequalities between countries and social groups, and for increasing security. Indeed, the victims of hardship and despair, whose human dignity is violated with impunity, become easy prey to the call to violence, and they can then become violators of peace. The common good that human rights help to accomplish cannot, however, be attained merely by applying correct procedures, nor even less by achieving a balance between competing rights. The merit of the Universal Declaration is that it has enabled different cultures, juridical expressions and institutional models to converge around a fundamental nucleus of values, and hence of rights. Today, though, efforts need to be redoubled in the face of pressure to reinterpret the foundations of the Declaration and to compromise its inner unity so as to facilitate a move away from the protection of human dignity towards the satisfaction of simple interests, often particular interests. The Declaration was adopted as a "common standard of achievement" (Preamble) and cannot be applied piecemeal, [This seems to be a concrete thing he is trying to accomplish.] according to trends or selective choices that merely run the risk of contradicting the unity of the human person and thus the indivisibility of human rights.

Experience shows that legality often prevails over justice when the insistence upon rights makes them appear as the exclusive result of legislative enactments or normative decisions taken by the various agencies of those in power. When presented purely in terms of legality, rights risk becoming weak propositions divorced from the ethical and rational dimension which is their foundation and their goal. The Universal Declaration, rather, has reinforced the conviction that respect for human rights is principally rooted in unchanging justice, on which the binding force of international proclamations is also based. This aspect is often overlooked when the attempt is made to deprive rights of their true function in the name of a narrowly utilitarian perspective. Since rights and the resulting duties follow naturally from human interaction, it is easy to forget that they are the fruit of a commonly held sense of justice built primarily upon solidarity among the members of society, and hence valid at all times and for all peoples. This intuition was expressed as early as the fifth century by Augustine of Hippo, one of the masters of our intellectual heritage. He taught that the saying: Do not do to others what you would not want done to you "cannot in any way vary according to the different understandings that have arisen in the world" (De Doctrina Christiana, III, 14). Human rights, then, must be respected as an expression of justice, and not merely because they are enforceable through the will of the legislators.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As history proceeds, new situations arise, and the attempt is made to link them to new rights. Discernment, that is, the capacity to distinguish good from evil, becomes even more essential in the context of demands that concern the very lives and conduct of persons, communities and peoples. In tackling the theme of rights, since important situations and profound realities are involved, discernment is both an indispensable and a fruitful virtue.  [I think this is as close as he will get to talking about abortion and contraception and the UN’s role in their promotion in third world countries.]

Discernment, then, shows that entrusting exclusively to individual States, with their laws and institutions, the final responsibility to meet the aspirations of persons, communities and entire peoples, can sometimes have consequences that exclude the possibility of a social order respectful of the dignity and rights of the person. [States must be responsible to each other.]  On the other hand, a vision of life firmly anchored in the religious dimension [!] can help to achieve this, since recognition of the transcendent value of every man and woman favours conversion of heart, which then leads to a commitment to resist violence, terrorism and war, and to promote justice and peace. This also provides the proper context for the inter-religious dialogue that the United Nations is called to support, just as it supports dialogue in other areas of human activity. Dialogue should be recognized as the means by which the various components of society can articulate their point of view and build consensus around the truth concerning particular values or goals. It pertains to the nature of religions, freely practised, that they can autonomously conduct a dialogue of thought and life. If at this level, too, the religious sphere is kept separate from political action, then great benefits ensue for individuals and communities. [Again, we have the experience of the EU, not to mention materialistic totalitarian states.]  On the other hand, the United Nations can count on the results of dialogue between religions, and can draw fruit from the willingness of believers to place their experiences at the service of the common good. Their task is to propose a vision of faith not in terms of intolerance, discrimination and conflict, but in terms of complete respect for truth, coexistence, rights, and reconciliation.

Human rights, of course, must include the right to religious freedom, understood as the expression of a dimension that is at once individual and communitarian – a vision that brings out the unity of the person while clearly distinguishing between the dimension of the citizen and that of the believer.  [This seems to refer not only places like China, but also the Middle East.  Go back and read Benedict’s first Message for the World Day for Peace, which identifies the players in this matter of religious liberty and the roots of peace.] The activity of the United Nations in recent years has ensured that public debate gives space to viewpoints inspired by a religious vision in all its dimensions, including ritual, worship, education, dissemination of information and the freedom to profess and choose religion. It is inconceivable, then, that believers should have to suppress a part of themselves – their faith – in order to be active citizens. It should never be necessary to deny God in order to enjoy one’s rights. [Excellent.] The rights associated with religion are all the more in need of protection if they are considered to clash with a prevailing secular ideology or with majority religious positions of an exclusive nature. 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.  [Moreover, Catholics should have a voice in the public square.  Think of China and Saudi Arabia.  Also, practitioners of other religions have rights that must be defended.] Indeed, they actually do so, for example through their influential and generous involvement in a vast network of initiatives which extend from Universities, scientific institutions and schools to health care agencies and charitable organizations in the service of the poorest and most marginalized. Refusal to recognize the contribution to society that is rooted in the religious dimension and in the quest for the Absolute – by its nature, expressing communion between persons – would effectively privilege an individualistic approach, and would fragment the unity of the person.

My presence at this Assembly is a sign of esteem for the United Nations, and it is intended to express the hope that the Organization will increasingly serve as a sign of unity between States and an instrument of service to the entire human family. It also demonstrates the willingness of the Catholic Church to offer her proper contribution to building international relations in a way that allows every person and every people to feel they can make a difference. In a manner that is consistent with her contribution in the ethical and moral sphere and the free activity of her faithful, the Church also works for the realization of these goals through the international activity of the Holy See. Indeed, the Holy See has always had a place at the assemblies of the Nations, thereby manifesting its specific character as a subject in the international domain. As the United Nations recently confirmed, the Holy See thereby makes its contribution according to the dispositions of international law, helps to define that law, and makes appeal to it.

The United Nations remains a privileged setting in which the Church is committed to contributing her experience "of humanity"[The Church is the greatest expert in humanity there has ever been.] developed over the centuries among peoples of every race and culture, and placing it at the disposal of all members of the international community. This experience and activity, directed towards attaining freedom for every believer, seeks also to increase the protection given to the rights of the person. Those rights are grounded and shaped by the transcendent nature of the person, which permits men and women to pursue their journey of faith and their search for God in this world. Recognition of this dimension must be strengthened if we are to sustain humanity’s hope for a better world and if we are to create the conditions for peace, development, cooperation, and guarantee of rights for future generations.

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, charged with the responsibility of promoting peace and good will throughout the earth. Dear Friends, I thank you for this opportunity to address you today, and I promise you of the support of my prayers as you pursue your noble task.

Before I take my leave from this distinguished Assembly, I should like to offer my greetings, in the official languages, to all the Nations here represented.

[in English; in French; in Spanish; in Arab; in Chinese; in Russian:]

If I had written this speech, I would have made an explicit reference to the rights of children, and the rights of unborn children.  I think this address lacks that dimension and it is a bit weak without it.  

On the other hand, I wonder if it wasn’t purposely left out so as not to derail the other content with problems of accusations of not having protected children from that tiny minority of priests, etc.  I can imagine a debate about this up in SecState.

Even for those lacunae, this could still be a foundation, or explanation, of a Christian humanism.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. gsk says:

    Referencing the introduction to the Pope, is “tolerance” really a bedrock portion of the UN’s mission? How did that slip in? The whole intro was slipshod and painful.

  2. Adam says:

    It would have been neat if he just got up there and started reading Humanae Vitae. I understand there was a lot more to cover, but I still think it would have been neat.

  3. Paul Priest says:

    Father , you really do need to read this speech again without your ‘privileged’ spectacles.
    In some places you’re jumping to conclusions regarding what the average listener may deduce, conclude or infer from it: His Holiness was preaching – and most sincerely NOT to the converted !
    From what I can see you also [and I do not intend to be offensive ] seem to be viewing the U.N. as ‘over-interventionist’ when its major crimes and failings have been non-intervention – that ironically hints of the hostile american misperception of the U.N. ; and is quite indicative of a general misunderstanding of modern history; especially when the UN has on occasion been reprehensibly guilty [through impotence and emasculation] of allowing itself to be intimidated, bullied, blackmailed and shanghaied by its more forceful members .
    This speech was earth-shattering : If you cannot see that yet ; you need to look again.
    He was telling the children to grow up , telling the thoughtless to start thinking , telling the reckless to adopt some responsibility.
    Look for the subtlety : The strength in the gentleness….

  4. Lindsay says:

    I think it is interesting that you thought he should have emphasized the rights of children more. I was pleased he referenced and emphasized the rights of *family* so much which would include children but not exclude parents.

    As a parent and a home schooler, I find a lot of the recent UN documents on “children’s rights” to be in direct violation of the family unit and the rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit. The UN and other international laws seem to want to take away my right to raise my children in the Catholic faith with its corresponding moral views on abortion, contraception, homosexuality, etc… without being accused of and prosecuted for “indoctrinating” my children. They are my kids. I can indoctrinate them how I choose.

  5. Lindsay says:

    I apologize. I thought before posting, but I didn’t proofread. I meant the UN wants to take away my rights, but I want to preserve my right to raise my children as I choose. I hope my point was clear though not written correctly.

  6. RBrown says:

    From what I can see you also [and I do not intend to be offensive ] seem to be viewing the U.N. as ‘over-interventionist’ when its major crimes and failings have been non-intervention – that ironically hints of the hostile american misperception of the U.N.
    Comment by Paul Priest

    Would you consider international contraceptive programs of the UN to be over-intervention or non-intervention.

  7. Aaron Magnan says:

    Great speech. it’s funny that the media talks about human rights, conflict, etc., but mentions nothing on religion.

  8. TP says:


    The pope uses the phrase Human Person. However, the Universal declaration of Human Rights never uses the word Person because the soviets declared that the word “person” is a religious word. This is not the religious document the pope is making it.


  9. Geoffrey says:

    I think the address of His Holiness was very good. I pray those who heard it take it to heart.

  10. Paul Priest says:

    I think that was an intrinsic point of the speech Lindsay ; but if you notice [especially in the subsequent brief speech to the UN staff] it was constantly emphasising responsibility and implied the duty to act accordingly and not be Bullied. If you look at the actual ‘anti-Life and pro-contraceptive notions of Love ‘ mandates within the UN – there’s a distinct socio-economic coercion from the Rich West upon the dependant developing world – One instance that comes to mind is when India was only to be granted aid on the proviso it implemented highly expensive ‘family planning’ programmes – the Indian representative retorted ‘don’t tie our hands with food aid, don’t give us the pill and condoms ; give us metal tips to our wooden ploughs and we will grow our own food’ – and guess what ? despite vast animosity from the West , India gained enough support from the little nations to get their metal ploughs and with the extra couple of inches of turned topsoil managed to grow enough to eventually start exporting food ! His Holiness’s message is ‘stand up for yourself as a nation and a global community – protect your people !’

  11. Chironomo says:


    The document should have been called “Children’s Rights in a Worldwide Socialist Utopia” because that’s what they are really talking about. In their view, the “state” knows way better than you do what is good for your children, and they believe that anything you are going to teach your children is probably subversive propaganda. The U.N has a legitimate role in negotiating border disputes, ironing out diplomatic impasses and making declarations of an International Nature regarding common threats or worldwide security issues. Not so sure about their role in setting social policy.

  12. Paul Priest says:

    chironomo the UN is not socialist – it’s hegelian-induced marxist – and that does not just mean Stalinistic homogenising – it includes the other side of the coin ; selling oneself to the marxist principles of capitalism too. Chesterton describes it in ‘The Outline of Sanity’

  13. Vox Borealis says:

    PAul Priest,

    I think that you too are reading the speech too much in a single direction. Yes the Pope criticized the UN for inactivity AND also chastised it and its most powerful members (look out USA) for the bullying of the UN. At the same time, he framed the entire speech in terms of natural rights, which imply the existence of objective truth(s). In the end, what he was really doing was challenging the whole world, by addressing the closest thing to a universally accepted world-secular organization, to see that the whole project of the UN cannot succeed unless it (ie, the international community) accept that there is a Truth, identify that truth through reason, and stand up for that truth throughout the world. Than means (in my reading) no more inaction in places like Sudan or Iraq, no more bullshit (excuse me) resolutions that mean nothing, no more relativistic understanding of tolerance (what *they* do over *there* is OK for them, because all truth and rights are relative), no more bullying by the USA, but also no more bullying by the likes of China or the Arab states for their own pet causes, and so forth.

    And I think that Fr. Z’s reading is spot on when it comes to intervention. Benedict clearly sees places where the UN has a mandate to act, and there it should do so–the Holy Father highlighted conflict, poverty, etc.. Otherwise, I do believe he would have the organization butt out unless there are problems. Maybe put another way: surely the Holy Father wants to UN to be more active in helping relieve hunger, but it surely has no business passing universal “rights” decrees that all but mandate local communities to legalize abortion (as in the case of the EU).

  14. Paul Priest says:

    I’m sorry but I don’t think the Pope is saying ‘Butt out’ at all ; but ‘Butt in’ according to those natural law principles grounded in the Declaration of Human rights he subtly compelled them into recognition as intrinsically Humanist [on a most christian level] – Protect them, feed them, shelter them, educate them, nurture them…. His Holiness was telling them that their better selves’ objectives were intrinsically bound to the corporal works of mercy but they had to recognise their responsible duty to realise what was the best for the Person – that gentleness in his speech was so bound with an unbreakable strength and challenge to be responsible towards every human person [intrinsically from conception to natural death]
    It was a call to action – to wake up – to be aware of what their ultimate ideals were and that their means should fit accordingly – not pragmatically rob peter to pay paul or destroy life to sustain life.
    His Holiness appealed to their better selves ; he inspired , he attempted to remove the casts from their eyes and let them perceive the big picture of what they were truly about and how their limited misguided programmes weren’t an adequate solution.
    He was asking them to act according to the words of Magna Carta : “Let Right be Done !!!”

  15. RBrown says:

    Father , you really do need to read this speech again without your ‘privileged’ spectacles.
    In some places you’re jumping to conclusions regarding what the average listener may deduce, conclude or infer from it: His Holiness was preaching – and most sincerely NOT to the converted !
    From what I can see you also [and I do not intend to be offensive ] seem to be viewing the U.N. as ‘over-interventionist’ when its major crimes and failings have been non-intervention – that ironically hints of the hostile american misperception of the U.N.
    Comment by Paul Priest

    Would you call the UN sponsored contraceptive programs over-intervention or non-intervention?

    American misperception? Do you know that the UN intervention in ex-Yugoslavia was actually American? Do you know that the US was painting helicopters blue so they would seem to be from the UN force?

  16. Vox Borealis says:

    I see what you are saying, but it seems pretty clear that he was challenging the UN to “butt in” where it was mandated to do so: where there are problems like conflict or poverty. It did not seem to suggest that it intrude in all areas, or even supplant the local community (ie, nation) as the primary locus of identity or level of community organizations. Indeed, his speech presupposes that states will continue to exists as sovereign entities. To be sure, he argues for the necessity of the UN and/or other transcendent structures (and values) to moderate, *sometimes*, the *sometimes* shortcomings of a world governed by realist state actors:

    “Discernment, then, shows that entrusting exclusively to individual States, with their laws and institutions, the final responsibility to meet the aspirations of persons, communities and entire peoples, can sometimes have consequences that exclude the possibility of a social order respectful of the dignity and rights of the person.”

    But even this call clearly recognizes the role of the individual community/state. So long as those states are functioning properly and securing the dignity and rights of persons, by implication, there is no need for UN meddling.

  17. TJM says:

    I have the greatest respect and admiration for His Holiness and I’m sure he had his reasons for speaking to the UN unfathomable to me. However,
    the UN is an intrinsically evil and ineffectual organization. The World would be far better off if this organization went the way of the
    League of Nations. It is pro-abortion, pro-contraception, anti-women, ec. Its “Human Rights” commission is a joke, comprised in part of violent, thug nations, which have absolutely no respect for human life, and in particular, the Catholic Church. It is not Olympus or Camelot. I will rejoice when it
    is gone. Tom

  18. Paul Priest says:

    Having had many Serbian and Croatian immigrant friends/associates since the conflict I know quite a bit more than the average joe , thanks . It seems you are the one who’s quite mistaken regarding US motives in the former Yugoslavia. The US applied pressure on the UK to veto the recognition of Slovenian independence – this gave Serbia a green light to exact punitive military measures to any attempts to secede in Croatia and Bosnia . The slaughter commenced – decades of animosity held at bay by Tito were let loose . The UN dithered and discussed and more people died – after NATO arrived too late to save thousands of lives ; and was subsequently humiliated by Milosevich’s capitulation and retreat ; The US looked impotent if not epicene , and wanted revenge – so it prevented any UN intervention to allay hostilities ; and forced a Kosovan war which allowed them to exact retaliation against Serbia.

    The Serbian/Kosovan conflict was a major part of my wife’s University thesis ; so I have learned a great deal of that which exists in Government [public] records and in which they quite clearly and frankly admit all the policies and events ; but for some reason it’s denied by both the media’s and politicians’ revisionist agenda – The Rambouillet fiasco where Milosevich surrendered and offered quasi-autonomy for Kosovo but NATO demanded a dismantling of Serbia and the introduction of a foreign controlled police state – something impossible for Serbia to concede to – so war was inevitable , the deliberate US veto in the Security council on France’s proposal [to have UN peacekeeping troops at the border] in order to re-actuate hostilities and justify intervention etc. The blanket bombing killed thousands for no other reason other than a Just war which could have been fought years earlier against a genocidal invading force DIDN’T HAPPEN ; because the invaders did all their killing then ran away while the West dithered ; so a phoney war was created by NATO [i.e. the US] to exact retribution and save face ! It was a scandal beyond imagining…

    If you wish to justify US intervention I’d suggest you use another example.
    Had the UN taken a strong stand , and refused to be bullied by the powerful few and intervened earlier ; hundreds of thousands of lives could have been saved .

  19. Michael says:

    “Benedict clearly sees places where the UN has a mandate to act, and there it should do so”

    Mandate? from whom? Not the Church certainly. Where does an entity such as the UN fit with the Church’s teachings? She has taught extensively about the role of the State, its obligations , responsibilities, sphere of influence (especially how it overlaps and [should] compliment the Church), and its very reason for existence, but for the life of me, I cannot find any teachings about an entity such as the UN. What is its function and role and, more importantly, how is it going to assist my Salvation?

  20. Chironomo says:


    I appreciate your correction and much finer distinction than I was prepared to make on the spot(I’m a CAGO Organist and specialist in Sacred Music, not politics!), but it seems we agree about the U.N at least! I try to follow political workings insofar as they affect me and those I care about, and the U.N usually seems to have the best interest of neither in mind. I probably am at odds with the more extreme “get ou of the U.N” crowd, because I believe an international political body could have a legitimate role addressing truly international issues. The problem is, I think that the U.N has become too corrupt to be such a body.

  21. gsk says:

    TP: you rightly point out that the Universal declaration of Human Rights never uses the word Person because the soviets declared that the word “person” is a religious word. But more recently (Cairo and Beijing) they fought against the word “dignity” as well since it implies some sort of “higher power” conferring the dignity. So many words have become problemmatic in their paradigm

  22. JP says:

    Paul Priest said: chironomo the UN is not socialist – it’s hegelian-induced marxist

    I thought Marxism was a species of Socialism.

  23. ‘If I had written this speech, I would have made an explicit reference to the rights of children, and the rights of unborn children. I think this address lacks that dimension and it is a bit weak without it.’

    Get over yourself Fr Z!

  24. RBrown says:

    If you wish to justify US intervention I’d suggest you use another example. Had the UN taken a strong stand , and refused to be bullied by the powerful few and intervened earlier ; hundreds of thousands of lives could have been saved .
    Comment by Paul Priest

    There is no strong military UN stand that does not center on US forces.

    Having said that, it was my experience from having lived in Europe for 11 years that many Euros are more than willing to use US forces as unpaid mercenaries. Basically, they want to make the decision when US forces are to be used and American blood spilled.

    In fact, in my residence hall in Rome I once had two opposing opinions within 15 minutes from Korean priests (both good friends) on US intervention. One asked why the US was dithering, the other said that we should mind our own business.

    BTW, my source for the helicopters being painted story is one of the three generals in charge of the operation. I see him almost every morning–and he is not Wes Clark.

  25. Well, my wife and I thought that it was a good speech. It was the first time my wife had really heard anything B16’s said, and she commented, “Wow, the pope’s a nerd!”

    In a good way, though.

    John Paul II traveled the world, was much loved and little listened to. Maybe B16 is a natural out shoot from that papacy. He’s quiet, intellectual, he uses big words. I noticed more than a few drifting heads among the crowd… It wasn’t a simple Make love Not War speech. It reminded people listening and watching that International Law is rooted in the Church… He raised the name Jesus Christ in those hallowed halls of modernity…

    Seeing him speak boosts my faith.
    Hearing, on CNN, the words of the survivors of molestation after meeting with B16 boosts my faith. This may not be the simple “interim” papacy so many expected it to be.

    I pray God grants B16 a good, long life…
    The Spirit raised him to the papacy for a reason…

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