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Pope’s New Name for Sovereignty

Pope’s New Name for Sovereignty

Interview With UN Permanent Observer Archbishop Migliore

By Jesús Colina

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 27, 2008 ( ).- When speaking to the United Nations, it could be said Benedict XVI proposed a new name for sovereignty, says the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations.

Archbishop Celestino Migliore, who hosted the Pope for three days during his stay in New York, said this in reference to the address the Holy Father gave April 18 to the U.N. General Assembly. The archbishop said the “responsibility to protect” mentioned by the Pontiff could be the new name for sovereignty, which is “not only a right, but above all a responsibility to protect and promote the populations in their daily lives.”

In this interview with ZENIT, Archbishop Migliore recounts his personal experience of the papal trip, and comments on the message Benedict XVI delivered to the United Nations.

Q: What was the moment of the Pope’s visit that you will never forget?

Archbishop Migliore: There are many, as you can imagine. Americans were waiting to see and experience for themselves Benedict XVI’s spirituality, intellect and humanity that they were already seeing by way of the media. Upon his arrival they saw the Pope happy to be in the United States, happy and eager to meet Americans of all levels. All the events that he participated in were marked by festivity, warmth and mutual understanding.

And then, the profound empathy of the Pope with what remains the most vivid symbol for Americans, ground zero. The ceremony, expressed almost without words, spoken heart-to-heart, made the Pope seem like one of them, and at the same time invested with such authority to communicate his own message. By the same token, on two evenings the Pope went out of the residence in New York to greet the hundreds of people convened to sing and wish him a happy birthday.

On Saturday evening there were 50 children in the first row visibly affected from various types of cancer. The affection and the sense of profound dignity expressed by the Pope revealed his highest moral authority that can offer hope and confidence.

Q: Could you tell us what the Holy Father told you?

Archbishop Migliore: I had the privilege and great pleasure of spending three days with the Holy Father in the residence of his representative at the United Nations. During the meals we shared our sentiments, impressions and exchanges of information about the unfolding of the Papal visit and the warm welcome and reception he was receiving.

On the occasion of his third anniversary of his pontificate, it was Pope Benedict who offered us a wonderful gift: He wished to have all my collaborators at the table for dinner. This was the highlight for all of us who had an opportunity to share with the Holy Father the joys and burdens, as well as the funny moments of our activity at the United Nations.

Q: Do you have any reactions from the national delegations in the United Nations to the Pope’s speech?

Archbishop Migliore: This is a time of difficulty and tension also for the United Nations. The Pope uplifted spirits. Knowing that the United Nations is not a bed of roses even for the Pope, I had the impression that many diplomats who heard him stress the most beautiful potential of the United Nations, felt comforted and encouraged to work for a United Nations which delivers.

No doubt it was the meeting with the staff that accounted for the most enthusiastic response throughout the United Nations. At many points in his address the Pope smiled and looked at the crowd. His warmth and comfort was echoed by the crowd’s response, in its excitement and cheers, and in the standing ovations they gave him. This festive reaction by the staff was not just stadium frenzy, but it was motivated also by the message he delivered to them.

Q: The Pope said he and the Church believe in the United Nations, and urged the institution to go back to the original principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. How was his message received by members of the United Nations?

Archbishop Migliore: In particular, they had the impression that the Pope was reading their heart, their personal desire for justice and freedom. From what I hear from diplomats and officials at the United Nations, the words of the Pope will have an echo and a profound and studied following, especially with regard to the role of the United Nations and international law.

Q: How is the “responsibility to protect,” mentioned by the Holy Father, a new principle for the international community? How would this differ from the international community’s response to oppressive governments in the past?

Archbishop Migliore: He stated that the moral basis for a government’s claim to authority, to sovereignty, is its responsibility for, its willingness to, and effectiveness in protecting its populations from any kind of violation of human rights. While borrowing this expression from the Outcome Document adopted by Heads of State and Government in 2005, Pope Benedict outlined a broader concept: Responsibility to protect covers not only the so-called humanitarian — military — interventions, rather, it could be used as the new name for sovereignty, which is not only a right, but above all a responsibility to protect and promote the populations in their daily lives.

Filed under: Church-State, Social Justice

Human-Centered Development: Vatican Secretary of State

Holy See Calls for Human-Centered Development
Offers Analysis of Trade Situation

ACCRA, Ghana, APRIL 25, 2008 ( The principles of solidarity and subsidiarity are the key to designing international rules and institutions that sustain development, the Holy See is proposing.

This idea was affirmed in a note for discussion sent by the Vatican Secretariat of State as part of the preparations of the 12th U.N. Conference on Trade and Development in Accra, which ended today.

The Holy See paper mentioned a “crisis of multilateralism,” noting in particular two criticisms of international organizations.

“The first is the problem of representation, according to which the decision making power within these institutions is not allocated in an equitable way,” it said. “The second criticism refers to the lack of grassroots involvement of the society in development-oriented initiatives undertaken by multilateral institutions. Such an approach presents the risk of formulating policy strategy that is not centered on the poor but rather on governments of poor countries.”

After an analysis of the problems involved in trade and development, the Holy See took a look at “what can be done.”

The first proposal was recalling what the paper called the “true objective,” that is, development centered on the human being.

The true goal is development, the Holy See proposed, and “trade represents a significant opportunity for developing countries. However, it is not an end itself but rather is a means to achieve development and poverty reduction.”

Next, the paper advised “a change in perspective”: The goal of development, it said, is the common good.

The Holy See explained: “It must be clear that development is not only about the growth of the economy in general; it is about the development of the human being with his/her capabilities and relationships with intermediary social groups — family, social, political, cultural groups etc. — within which he/she lives.

“This requires a change in perspective that recognizes peoples as united by a common factor, their humanity being created with the imprint of the common God creator. Only by starting from this premise can we aim, within pluralist institutions, toward the achievement of the common good, which needs to be the primary objective of any society.

“The common good is neither an abstract goal nor a simple list of targets. It is simply the realization of the primary needs of the person: the need of truth, love, and justice.”

In progress
The Secretariat of State further proposed that man is “always in development.”

“In fact, development is not a target to reach; it is rather a path to follow,” it said. “We can say that there is true development when persons are put in a position to follow their most important desires and needs.”

The paper then offered two principles to sustain and not hamper the different paths for development: solidarity and subsidiarity.

“Solidarity is the responsibility of developed nations to favor economic growth […] by helping less fortunate individuals to create their opportunities for development,” it said. “Solidarity should be the guiding principle, not only in the definition of foreign aid, but also in the economic relationship between developed and developing countries and within regional or multilateral agreements.”

But, the paper continued, “while solidarity should be the spark that generates the definition of development-oriented policies both at national and at international level, subsidiarity should be the guiding principle in their design and implementation.”

It explained: “Subsidiarity not only preserves and promotes originality in the development of social life, but also implies an act of freedom by individuals who try to follow their vocations. […] Participation is a duty to be fulfilled consciously by all, with responsibility and with a view to the common good.

“In other words, at international level, solidarity and subsidiarity imply a double responsibility: by developed countries in helping [least developed countries] to find their path for development and by least developed countries in implementing all the necessary policies that would allow them to take the opportunities that are offered.”

5 Keys

If development it centered on the human person, the Holy See concluded, there are some key issues to be taken into account. The paper mentioned five.

The first is education, “the essence of development. Only an educated person can be fully aware of the worth and dignity of the human being. Then educated people can more easily establish among themselves social relations not based on force and abuse, but on respect and friendship. In such an environment, it is easier to reduce corruption and to develop virtuous institutions that help to achieve the common good.”

Health and decent work were also included.

The Holy See said that economic freedom is key: “Without the institutional setting that provides a stable economic environment where the rule of law is enforced and property rights are respected, economic development inevitably is repressed.”
Finally, the paper proposed the importance of entrepreneurship, calling it the first step toward economic development.

“The task faced by international institutions in sustaining the development of poor countries is enormous,” the Holy See concluded. “The first decisive step toward achieving this goal is to implement policies that recognize and place the value of the human person at their center.”

Filed under: Social Doctrine

Female Poverty Reduction

Caritas Joins With Leaders to Fight Female Poverty
WASHINGTON, D.C., APRIL 23, 2008 ( The secretary-general of the aid group Caritas Internationalis joined with other world leaders in making a pledge to end poverty among women.

Lesley-Anne Knight joined with leaders including former U.S. President Bill Clinton and former Irish President Mary Robinson in pledging to work against poverty that plagues women in particular. The pledges were made at a meeting of the Women, Faith, and Development Alliance in Washington on April 13.

According to the United Nations, women account for 70% of the world’s poor, while they are owners of just 1% of the world’s titled land; two-thirds of the world’s illiterate people are women.
The Women, Faith and Development Alliance received more than $1 billion in financial commitments. The alliance aims to boost the economic status of women and implement changes to make improvements possible.

Knight said: “Women and girls are at the center of efforts to end poverty. They are the majority of the world’s poor. Caritas is fully behind efforts seeking to increase resources for the advancement of women.

“The Women, Faith and Development Alliance is bringing attention and funding to addressing this problem. Hopefully we can work together to make progress toward achieving the [U.N.] Millennium Development Goals by lifting millions of women out of poverty.”

Filed under: Caritas

Speech by Archbishop Migliore at UN on Urbanization


VATICAN CITY, 22 APR 2008 (VIS) – Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations in New York, delivered an address on 9 April before the 41st session of the Economic and Social Council’s Commission on Population and Development.
Speaking English, Archbishop Migliore said that “migration and the urbanisation of societies should not be purely measured in terms of their economic impact. In finding ways to address the serious challenges posed by massive internal and trans-national migrations, let us not forget that at the heart of this phenomenon is the human person”.

“New environmental, social and economic problems emerge with the birth of mega cities”, he said. “But one of the most pressing and painful consequences of rapid urbanisation is the increasing number of people living in urban slums. As recently as 2005 over 840 million people around the world lived in such conditions”.

Such people, he warned, “become trapped in a vicious cycle of extreme poverty and marginalisation. … They feel powerless to demand even the most basic public services” and “policy makers and civil society actors must put these people and their concerns among the priorities in their decision-making”.

“If”, Archbishop Migliore concluded “we are to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, greater concern must be given to those communities, in which approximately 675 million still lack access to safe drinking water and two billion live without access to basic sanitation. National and international policies would do well to ensure that rural communities have access to higher quality and more accessible social services”.

Filed under: Migration, Social Doctrine

Pope’s Homily at Yankee Stadium

Pope’s Homily at Yankee Stadium

Following is the prepared text of Pope Benedict XVI’s homily in the Mass at Yankee Stadium on April 20, as supplied by Vatican.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In the Gospel we have just heard, Jesus tells his Apostles to put their faith in him, for he is “the way, and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6). Christ is the way that leads to the Father, the truth which gives meaning to human existence, and the source of that life which is eternal joy with all the saints in his heavenly Kingdom. Let us take the Lord at his word! Let us renew our faith in him and put all our hope in his promises!

With this encouragement to persevere in the faith of Peter (cf. Lk 22:32; Mt 16:17), I greet all of you with great affection. I thank Cardinal Egan for his cordial words of welcome in your name. At this Mass, the Church in the United States celebrates the 200th anniversary of the creation of the Sees of New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Louisville from the mother See of Baltimore. The presence around this altar of the Successor of Peter, his brother bishops and priests, and deacons, men and women religious, and lay faithful from throughout the 50 states of the Union, eloquently manifests our communion in the Catholic faith which comes to us from the Apostles.

Our celebration today is also a sign of the impressive growth which God has given to the Church in your country in the past two hundred years. From a small flock like that described in the first reading, the Church in America has been built up in fidelity to the twin commandment of love of God and love of neighbor. In this land of freedom and opportunity, the Church has united a widely diverse flock in the profession of the faith and, through her many educational, charitable and social works, has also contributed significantly to the growth of American society as a whole.

This great accomplishment was not without its challenges. Today’s first reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, speaks of linguistic and cultural tensions already present within the earliest Church community. At the same time, it shows the power of the word of God, authoritatively proclaimed by the Apostles and received in faith, to create a unity which transcends the divisions arising from human limitations and weakness. Here we are reminded of a fundamental truth: that the Church’s unity has no other basis than the Word of God, made flesh in Christ Jesus our Lord. All external signs of identity, all structures, associations and programs, valuable or even essential as they may be, ultimately exist only to support and foster the deeper unity which, in Christ, is God’s indefectible gift to his Church.

The first reading also makes clear, as we see from the imposition of hands on the first deacons, that the Church’s unity is “apostolic.” It is a visible unity, grounded in the Apostles whom Christ chose and appointed as witnesses to his resurrection, and it is born of what the Scriptures call “the obedience of faith” (Rom 1:5; cf. Acts 6:7).

“Authority.” “Obedience”. To be frank, these are not easy words to speak nowadays. Words like these represent a “stumbling stone” for many of our contemporaries, especially in a society which rightly places a high value on personal freedom. Yet, in the light of our faith in Jesus Christ — “the way and the truth and the life” — we come to see the fullest meaning, value, and indeed beauty, of those words. The Gospel teaches us that true freedom, the freedom of the children of God, is found only in the self-surrender which is part of the mystery of love. Only by losing ourselves, the Lord tells us, do we truly find ourselves (cf. Lk 17:33). True freedom blossoms when we turn away from the burden of sin, which clouds our perceptions and weakens our resolve, and find the source of our ultimate happiness in him who is infinite love, infinite freedom, infinite life. “In his will is our peace”.

Real freedom, then, is God’s gracious gift, the fruit of conversion to his truth, the truth which makes us free (cf. Jn 8:32). And this freedom in truth brings in its wake a new and liberating way of seeing reality. When we put on “the mind of Christ” (cf. Phil 2:5), new horizons open before us! In the light of faith, within the communion of the Church, we also find the inspiration and strength to become a leaven of the Gospel in the world. We become the light of the world, the salt of the earth (cf. Mt 5:13-14), entrusted with the “apostolate” of making our own lives, and the world in which we live, conform ever more fully to God’s saving plan.

This magnificent vision of a world being transformed by the liberating truth of the Gospel is reflected in the description of the Church found in today’s second reading. The Apostle tells us that Christ, risen from the dead, is the keystone of a great temple which is even now rising in the Spirit. And we, the members of his body, through Baptism have become “living stones” in that temple, sharing in the life of God by grace, blessed with the freedom of the sons of God, and empowered to offer spiritual sacrifices pleasing to him (cf. 1 Pet 2:5). And what is this offering which we are called to make, if not to direct our every thought, word and action to the truth of the Gospel and to harness all our energies in the service of God’s Kingdom? Only in this way can we build with God, on the one foundation which is Christ (cf. 1 Cor 3:11). Only in this way can we build something that will truly endure. Only in this way can our lives find ultimate meaning and bear lasting fruit.

Today we recall the bicentennial of a watershed in the history of the Church in the United States: its first great chapter of growth. In these two hundred years, the face of the Catholic community in your country has changed greatly. We think of the successive waves of immigrants whose traditions have so enriched the Church in America. We think of the strong faith which built up the network of churches, educational, healthcare and social institutions which have long been the hallmark of the Church in this land. We think also of those countless fathers and mothers who passed on the faith to their children, the steady ministry of the many priests who devoted their lives to the care of souls, and the incalculable contribution made by so many men and women religious, who not only taught generations of children how to read and write, but also inspired in them a lifelong desire to know God, to love him and to serve him. How many “spiritual sacrifices pleasing to God” have been offered up in these two centuries! In this land of religious liberty, Catholics found freedom not only to practice their faith, but also to participate fully in civic life, bringing their deepest moral convictions to the public square and cooperating with their neighbors in shaping a vibrant, democratic society. Today’s celebration is more than an occasion of gratitude for graces received. It is also a summons to move forward with firm resolve to use wisely the blessings of freedom, in order to build a future of hope for coming generations.

“You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people he claims for his own, to proclaim his glorious works” (1 Pet 2:9). These words of the Apostle Peter do not simply remind us of the dignity which is ours by God’s grace; they also challenge us to an ever greater fidelity to the glorious inheritance which we have received in Christ (cf. Eph 1:18). They challenge us to examine our consciences, to purify our hearts, to renew our baptismal commitment to reject Satan and all his empty promises. They challenge us to be a people of joy, heralds of the unfailing hope (cf. Rom 5:5) born of faith in God’s word, and trust in his promises.

Each day, throughout this land, you and so many of your neighbors pray to the Father in the Lord’s own words: “Thy Kingdom come.” This prayer needs to shape the mind and heart of every Christian in this nation. It needs to bear fruit in the way you lead your lives and in the way you build up your families and your communities. It needs to create new “settings of hope” (cf. Spe Salvi, 32ff.) where God’s Kingdom becomes present in all its saving power.

Praying fervently for the coming of the Kingdom also means being constantly alert for the signs of its presence, and working for its growth in every sector of society. It means facing the challenges of present and future with confidence in Christ’s victory and a commitment to extending his reign. It means not losing heart in the face of resistance, adversity and scandal. It means overcoming every separation between faith and life, and countering false gospels of freedom and happiness. It also means rejecting a false dichotomy between faith and political life, since, as the Second Vatican Council put it, “there is no human activity – even in secular affairs – which can be withdrawn from God’s dominion” (Lumen Gentium, 36). It means working to enrich American society and culture with the beauty and truth of the Gospel, and never losing sight of that great hope which gives meaning and value to all the other hopes which inspire our lives.

And this, dear friends, is the particular challenge which the Successor of Saint Peter sets before you today. As “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,” follow faithfully in the footsteps of those who have gone before you! Hasten the coming of God’s Kingdom in this land! Past generations have left you an impressive legacy. In our day too, the Catholic community in this nation has been outstanding in its prophetic witness in the defense of life, in the education of the young, in care for the poor, the sick and the stranger in your midst. On these solid foundations, the future of the Church in America must even now begin to rise!

Yesterday, not far from here, I was moved by the joy, the hope and the generous love of Christ which I saw on the faces of the many young people assembled in Dunwoodie. They are the Church’s future, and they deserve all the prayer and support that you can give them. And so I wish to close by adding a special word of encouragement to them. My dear young friends, like the seven men, “filled with the Spirit and wisdom” whom the Apostles charged with care for the young Church, may you step forward and take up the responsibility which your faith in Christ sets before you! May you find the courage to proclaim Christ, “the same, yesterday, and today and for ever” and the unchanging truths which have their foundation in him (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 10; Heb 13:8). These are the truths that set us free! They are the truths which alone can guarantee respect for the inalienable dignity and rights of each man, woman and child in our world – including the most defenseless of all human beings, the unborn child in the mother’s womb. In a world where, as Pope John Paul II, speaking in this very place, reminded us, Lazarus continues to stand at our door (Homily at Yankee Stadium, October 2, 1979, No. 7), let your faith and love bear rich fruit in outreach to the poor, the needy and those without a voice. Young men and women of America, I urge you: open your hearts to the Lord’s call to follow him in the priesthood and the religious life. Can there be any greater mark of love than this: to follow in the footsteps of Christ, who was willing to lay down his life for his friends (cf. Jn 15:13)?

In today’s Gospel, the Lord promises his disciples that they will perform works even greater than his (cf. Jn 14:12). Dear friends, only God in his providence knows what works his grace has yet to bring forth in your lives and in the life of the Church in the United States. Yet Christ’s promise fills us with sure hope. Let us now join our prayers to his, as living stones in that spiritual temple which is his one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. Let us lift our eyes to him, for even now he is preparing for us a place in his Father’s house. And empowered by his Holy Spirit, let us work with renewed zeal for the spread of his Kingdom.

“Happy are you who believe!” (cf. 1 Pet 2:7). Let us turn to Jesus! He alone is the way that leads to eternal happiness, the truth who satisfies the deepest longings of every heart, and the life who brings ever new joy and hope, to us and to our world. Amen.

[In Spanish:]

Queridos hermanos y hermanas en el Señor:

Les saludo con afecto y me alegro de celebrar esta Santa Misa para dar gracias a Dios por el bicentenario del momento en que empezó a desarrollarse la Iglesia Católica en esta Nación. Al mirar el camino de fe recorrido en estos años, no exento también de dificultades, alabamos al Señor por los frutos que la Palabra de Dios ha dado en estas tierras y le manifestamos nuestro deseo de que Cristo, Camino, Verdad y Vida, sea cada vez más conocido y amado.

Aquí, en este País de libertad, quiero proclamar con fuerza que la Palabra de Cristo no elimina nuestras aspiraciones a una vida plena y libre, sino que nos descubre nuestra verdadera dignidad de hijos de Dios y nos alienta a luchar contra todo aquello que nos esclaviza, empezando por nuestro propio egoísmo y caprichos. Al mismo tiempo, nos anima a manifestar nuestra fe a través de nuestra vida de caridad y a hacer que nuestras comunidades eclesiales sean cada día más acogedoras y fraternas.

Sobre todo a los jóvenes les confío asumir el gran reto que entraña creer en Cristo y lograr que esa fe se manifieste en una cercanía efectiva hacia los pobres. También en una respuesta generosa a las llamadas que Él sigue formulando para dejarlo todo y emprender una vida de total consagración a Dios y a la Iglesia, en la vida sacerdotal o religiosa.

Queridos hermanos y hermanas, les invito a mirar el futuro con esperanza, permitiendo que Jesús entre en sus vidas. Solamente

Él es el camino que conduce a la felicidad que no acaba, la verdad que satisface las más nobles expectativas humanas y la vida colmada de gozo para bien de la Iglesia y el mundo. Que Dios les bendiga.

Filed under: Papal Teachings