Vatican's Letter on Role of United Nations

Cardinal Sodano Writes to Secretary-General on Pope’s Behalf

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 20, 2003 ( Here is the text of letter that Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, sent to the U.N. secretary-general, to express the Vatican’s support for the United Nations’ role in the world. The Vatican press office published the document today.

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His Excellency
Secretary General of the United Nations Organization
New York

Dear Mr Secretary General,

The recent Security Council Resolution 1483 (2003) regarding the rebuilding of the institutions and the economy of Iraq can be considered the beginning of a reconfirmation of the validity of the mission of the United Nations Organization as stipulated by the Charter of 1945.

Pope John Paul II, recognizing the importance of the United Nations, has directed me to express to Your Excellency the Holy See’s support for the fundamental role of the United Nations Organization at the present time. As you know, the Popes have spoken on various occasions of the need for an international and independent Authority capable of serving not only as a mediator in potential conflicts but also as a guide for all humanity, leading the human family in peace towards the rule of law. A particular sign of this interest is the presence of the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See at the United Nations.

Forty years ago, Pope John XXIII, in his Encyclical Letter Pacem in Terris (11 April 1963), clearly stated that the moral order itself calls for the establishment of a universal public Authority (No. 137). Pope John Paul II himself, in his Address to the General Assembly on October 5, 1995, expressed the hope that «the United Nations Organization»…become a moral center where all the nations of the world feel at home and develop a shared awareness of being, as it were, a «family of nations».

The recent Iraqi crisis has drawn attention to the need for a greater commitment to the principles set forth in the United Nations Charter in order to avoid unilateral actions which could lead to the weakening of international law and existing agreements.

The Holy See is confident that the United Nations Organization will be able to develop more efficient and concerted forms of cooperation which will enable world leaders to join in combating situations of injustice and oppression, leading to hostility between peoples, rather than building that «family of nations» of which Pope John Paul II spoke in 1995.

In seconding the sentiments of His Holiness, I wish to convey the recognition of the Holy See for your own commitment and that of all those who daily work for peace in the world, especially those associated with the efforts of the United Nations to foster international peace, dialogue and cooperation.

Renewing the Holy See’s esteem for this important international body, please accept, Your Excellency, the assurance of my highest consideration.

From the Vatican, June 5, 2003

Cardinal Angelo Sodano
Secretary of State

[Original Text: English]

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