Zenit - 'The World Seen From Rome'
Holy See Urges Limits to "Ideology of Power"
U.N. Address Focuses on Terrorism as Well as the Arms Race
NEW YORK, SEPT. 28, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See is still convinced of the need for the United Nations, seeing it as a counterbalance of sorts in a world steeped in the "ideology of power."
So explained Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State, when intervening Wednesday in the general debate of the 61st Session of the U.N. General Assembly. The session is being held through Sept. 29.
Archbishop Lajolo, who until Sept. 15 was Vatican secretary for relations with states, explained that this ideology has given way to terrorism, the "new barbarism that threatens world peace."
"Terrorists, and their various organizations, are the contemporary version of it, rejecting the best achievements of our civilization," he said.
However, the archbishop added that "even in an order of quite a different nature it cannot be denied that also superpowers, regional powers, aspiring powers and oppressed peoples sometimes yield to the temptation to believe, despite the evidence of history, that only force can bring about a just ordering of affairs among peoples and nations."
"The ideology of power scorns any restraint placed upon the use of force," the Vatican City State official said. "It can go so far as to regard the possession of nuclear weapons as an element of national pride, and it does not exclude the outrageous possibility of employing nuclear weapons against its adversaries.
"Currently eight countries -- and there may be others tempted to join their ranks -- possess nuclear weapons comprising approximately 27,000 nuclear warheads -- enough to destroy our planet many times over.
"Meanwhile, the implementation of the Treaty of Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons appears to be stalled and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty still needs to be ratified by some countries to enter into force."
"How can we stand still?" Archbishop Lajolo asked.
In this context, "the Holy See continues to be an advocate of the United Nations and favors its ongoing reform in the fields of peace building, development and human rights," he specified.
"The fundamental responsibility of political authority is to promote, defend and safeguard the human rights of its people," the prelate said. "Too often international bodies act, if at all, only after war is under way or when innocent populations have long been under assault.
"When the rights of whole groups of people are violated -- grievous examples could be mentioned in Europe, Asia and Africa -- or when they go unprotected by their own Governments, it is entirely right and just that this organization intervene in a timely manner by suitable means to restore justice."
Archbishop Lajolo continued: "The need to improve the system for effective humanitarian interventions in catastrophes brought on by war, civil conflict and ethnic strife will be an important test of the U.N. reform agenda."
"Strengthening the capacity of this organization to foresee a conflict or to resolve conflicts through negotiation and transform them nonviolently before there is resort to force is therefore a goal of primary importance in the renewal of the organization."
In this regard, Archbishop Lajolo said that the U.S. Security Council's Resolution 1701 of Aug. 11, which put an end to the war between Israel and Lebanon, "could have been adopted with the same wording one month" earlier.
He added: "If the repeated pleas for an immediate cessation to the violence, made by many, including Pope Benedict XVI, had been acted upon, the killing […] of civilians and numerous young soldiers, the flight of peoples and the enormous indiscriminate devastation need not have occurred.
"Meanwhile none of the outcomes that some governments put forward as a reason for the continuation of hostilities in Lebanon has in fact been achieved."
"As history has shown, for lack of sufficient capacity of intervention and common will, millions have died in needless conflicts: 'inutili stragi,' that is, 'pointless massacres,' to repeat a famous phrase of Benedict XV, Pope during the First World War."
Archbishop Lajolo added: "The late Pope Paul VI's appeal, uttered in this hall on 4th of October 1965 -- 'Jamais plus la guerre,' 'Never again war' -- today rings like an accusation in the heart of the collective conscience of humanity."