It's Time for U.N.'s "Resurrection," Says Cardinal Sodano

Vatican Secretary of State Says the Institution Is Still Useful

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NEW YORK, SEPT. 15, 2005 ( In the wake of recent criticism of the United Nations, the Vatican secretary of state says that «the hour has come for the resurrection of the U.N.»

Cardinal Angelo Sodano is attending the summit of leaders from 170 countries, called to discuss the urgent reformation of the United Nations, weakened by recent scandals of corruption.

In an interview published today in the Italian newspaper La Stampa, the cardinal said that the ideas for the reform of the U.N. General Assembly presented in New York were «very good.»

«Better late than never,» he added. «Sixty years have gone by since that far-off June 26 of 1945, when this organization was born to apply the principles enunciated in the preamble of its statute: to save future generations from the scourge of war, to reaffirm the fundamental rights of man and to contribute to the development of peoples.»

«Concrete fruits have been seen,» Cardinal Sodano observed. «But it is also a duty to point out that the history of these 60 years has been marked by the scourge of wars and crimes against humanity, as well as by misery and hunger.

«I recall that after the tragedy of Bosnia, a book was written with the thought-provoking title: ‘The U.N. Died in Sarajevo.’ Now the hour of its resurrection has come.»

Peace panel

«I am pleased to see that the concept of humanitarian intervention is being defined,» the Vatican secretary of state told La Stampa. «Now, a peace-building commission must be created to bring back peace to countries tried by ethnic rivalries and armed confrontations.

«The tragedies that have occurred in the Balkans, the Middle East and Africa, have made leaders of nations reflect.»

The cardinal continued: «In the various preparatory documents for this summit, there has been much talk of the ‘responsibility to protect.’ It is a new juridical and political concept that is developing.»

Pope John Paul II, particularly in the 1990s, insisted on the need for the international community to establish the possibility of «humanitarian intervention,» to aid defenseless populations that are under attack.

«The Holy See,» said Cardinal Sodano, «appeals to states to have the courage to implement the decisions made in this respect. In this way, situations will be able to be remedied in which national authorities do not want or cannot protect their own populations.»

Development a key

Regarding the Holy See’s position on the proposal for rich countries to allocate 0.7% of their gross national product to developing nations, Cardinal Sodano indicated that «the topic of development is as important as that of peace.»

«There is a profound relationship between them, which led the late Pope Paul VI to repeat often that ‘development is the new name of peace.’ There is still much to be done in this field,» the cardinal noted.

«However, the U.N. is not a super-government,» he added. «Rather, it is the result of the political will of the various member countries.»

Cardinal Sodano said he believes that «the U.N. continues to be useful.»

«If such an organization did not exist,» he said, «it would have to be invented. The problem is connected rather to the need to renew it. It must not be a petrified but a living institution, which responds to the present needs. This applies both to the Security Council as well as to the other U.N. organizations.»

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