The Pope and the U.N.
Douglas A. Sylva writes at First Things:
The pope has John Allen worried. In a column published in the New York Times, Allen, senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, frets that Pope Benedict will offend during his upcoming address to the United Nations General Assembly. After all, “this cerebral pope has a track record of blurring . . . compelling arguments during his biggest turns on stage.” He makes “cosmetic missteps that distract attention from his message” and exhibits a “worrying insensitivity to how unfamiliar audiences are likely to hear what he says.”(emphasis added)
But Allen should relax. As he is undoubtedly aware, this pope, like all the popes that have reigned during the age of the United Nations, has recognized great potential in the institution. If Benedict says anything that may prove difficult to hear on that April day, it will not be because he is insensitive to his listeners but because the Church knows and appreciates the founding values of the U.N. and seeks to hold the U.N. to those values. In this effort, Pope Benedict will show the way forward to a more vigorous organization, by calling for a restored commitment to the United Nations’ own avowed principles.
The Vatican’s long-standing hope in the institution is tied to its catholic perspective. A worldwide institution, properly constituted and properly administered, could propel the earth toward an ever closer approximation of the universal common good, the rewards of peace and justice that would emanate from worldwide respect for human rights as manifestations of natural law.