Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, speaks from the Vatican in a video message to the UN General Assembly’s High-Level Summit Sept. 21. CNS Screenshot/YouTube

UN must stay true to ideals, cardinal says

By  unno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service
  • September 23, 2020

VATICAN CITY -- Cardinal Pietro Parolin, in marking the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, called on the organization to renew its commitment to the ideals upon which it was founded.

In a prerecorded message released Sept. 21, Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state, said that while the United Nations has worked for decades to alleviate poverty, promote peace and champion human rights, “there have been challenges and setbacks, even contradictions and failures” throughout its long history.

“The United Nations is not perfect, and it has not always lived up to its name and ideals, and it has harmed itself whenever particular interests have triumphed over the common good,” he said. “The United Nations will always be in need of revitalizing the original spirit in order to make the charter’s principles and purposes its own within the context of a changing world.”

Parolin said people around the world have looked to the United Nations “as a source of hope for world peace and harmony among states” throughout its 75 years of existence. Echoing St. John Paul II’s call for the United Nations to be a “ ‘moral centre’ where every country is at home,” he said that now, more than ever, the world is in need of solidarity in order to find “multilateral solutions to global challenges.”

“As the COVID-19 pandemic has made abundantly clear, we cannot go on thinking only of ourselves or fostering divisions; rather, we must work together to overcome the world’s worst plagues, mindful that the burden carried by some necessarily affects humanity and the whole family of nations,” he said.

He also praised the organization’s protection of international law and human rights throughout its history, as well as its promotion of “a world based on the rule of law and justice rather than on weapons and might.”

“The UN has strived to champion universal human rights, which also include the right to life and freedom of religion, as they are essential for the much-needed promotion of a world where the dignity of every human person is protected and advanced,” the cardinal said.

While there have been setbacks, he added, the world still needs “diplomats here and for the countries they represent to commit themselves ever anew to the daunting task of seeking the common good in good faith through genuine consensus and compromise.” The organization “is needed as much today as ever to respond to the undiminished hopes of the peoples of the world.”

Parolin’s statement was among several prerecorded messages made by representatives and heads of state unable to travel to New York due to travel restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, because of time constraints, Parolin’s message and many others were not broadcast. They are to be heard at a later date to be determined.

Pope Francis was to address the UN Sept. 25 via video message.

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.