Crisis of U.N. Should Lead to Reinforcement of Its Role, Says Archbishop Martino

Guidelines Offered by President of Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

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OROSEI, Sardinia, JUNE 20, 2003 ( The crisis of international organizations such as the United Nations should not lead to their elimination but rather to the reinforcement of their original function, says a Vatican official.

When closing a congress on «Options of Justice, Ways of Peace,» of Caritas’ diocesan-level branches in Italy, Archbishop Renato Martino clarified key points of the Church’s social doctrine on «global governance.»

The president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace explained that John Paul II’s constant reference to the United Nations — before, during and after the Iraq war — does not imply approval of its present structure or of relations of power that take place in it.

«Rather, it is a strong appeal to the ideals that guide the U.N. and that are the foundation of any other international organization,» said the archbishop, who for 16 years was the Holy See’s permanent observer at the United Nations.

At the same time, it is «an invitation to reinforce the consolidation of international relations that the war in Iraq compromised, regardless of the ethical and political judgment held on that conflict,» he said Thursday.

Among the ways to reinforce international organizations, Archbishop Martino proposed the application «with greater conviction, of the principle of subsidiarity.»

Other suggestions were to undertake «in a gradual way, reforms that give value to multilateralism» and «to adapt the structure of the U.N. to real relations among states.»

Archbishop Martino emphasized that instruments for «global governance» are increasingly necessary, that they must be patiently built on the foundations of the unity of the human family, and that they must be at its service, in order to overcome «particular interests.»

«It is the time for all to work together to plan a sort of constitutional engineering of humanity, which will not give life to a super world state, but that — as suggested in John XXIII’s ‘Pacem in Terris’ — will continue and further the process already under way of shared participation at levels that are transparent and articulated with authority,» he said.

«If a peace is desired that is not the consequence of imposed violence — which, among other things, fuels new conflicts — and of long and exhausting negotiations — which often remain on paper — it is necessary that it arise from values that are in fact shared and lived,» the archbishop added.

In this connection, he mentioned the need to comply with the commitment of public aid to development — 0.7% of the gross national product of rich countries established in 1970. Otherwise, he said, it remains an unfulfilled promise.

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