Reforming the UN: Holy See Points to Key Issue

Observer Says Fundamental Need Is Serving Common Good

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NEW YORK, SEPT. 16, 2009 ( The United Nations needs to be reformed and plenty of ideas are being floated, but what the international body really needs is selfless dedication to the common good, according to the Holy See’s permanent observer.

Archbishop Celestino Migliore talked today with Vatican Radio about bringing the United Nations back to a position of relevance on the international scene.

The Holy See’s representative suggested that «there is, undoubtedly, the worrying perception that, without a precise reform of the way decisions are made, the U.N. will regress to a dangerous loss of relevance.»
But, he said, «the problem is not with finding adequate technical and institutional solutions,» since «proposals abound.»

Instead, the archbishop contended, «the issue is the political will of each one of the members that form a part of the organization, and especially of those who exercise greater political, economic, military and demographic influence, to be able to use, that is, to have the audacity to promote their own national interests in the context and according to the promotion of the universal common good.»
«International organizations should not be a place to divvy up power, but [to give] attention and an effective response to people’s problems,» he noted.

Broadening horizons

In regard to the institutional reform of the United Nations and, specifically, of the Security Council, Archbishop Migliore contended that «it’s not a question of thinking only of enlarging [the council] with new countries, but above all, the issue of the veto.»
He said the veto in the Security Council «can no longer be regarded in terms of privilege or power, but must be considered in the light of justice and solidarity to respond swiftly to international emergencies.»

Archbishop Migliore also observed that the voices heard at the United Nations need to be taken into account:

«At present, the great economic and financial questions are being debated and regulated with restricted groups, such as the G-8 and the G-20, whereas the United Nations represents the ‘G-192.'»

Charity and truth

The Holy See’s representative also referred to a world authority capable of addressing the problems of the international community, which Benedict XVI defends in «Caritas in Veritate.»
He explained that the encyclical calls for the United Nations as a public authority capable of guaranteeing a social order at the world level.
The Pope’s document «put emphasis on the need for this social order to also recognize and respect a precise ethical and moral order,» Archbishop Migliore added. «This is indispensable if we want the U.N. to maintain relevance and effectiveness.»

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