Vatican calls for ethic of life at the United Nations

By staff writers
October 3, 2007

Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican's Secretary for Relations with States, has called on the 62nd session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, currently being held in New York, for a consistent ethic of life in relation to development, poverty, ecology and human dignity.

At the beginning of his English-language speech, Archbishop Mamberti pointed out that "forgetting, or partially and selectively accepting," the principle of respect for human dignity "is what lies at the origin of conflicts, of environmental degradation and of social and economic injustices."

However, critics of the Roman Catholic Church say that its own policies in some areas, such as contraception and condom use, fail the test of humanitarian and life-enhancing qualities, especially when it comes to those facing the HIV-AIDS pandemic.

The focus of the Vatican's UN intervention fell elsewhere, however. The Archbishop declared: "The Holy See welcomes the initiative to hold the High-Level Dialogue on Inter-religious and Inter-cultural Understanding and Cooperation for Peace which, ... will take place here shortly. Indeed, dialogue among peoples of different cultures and religions is not an option; it is something indispensable for peace and for the renewal of international life."

Referring to conflict prevention and to efforts aimed at achieving and maintaining peace, the secretary for Relations with States indicated that the Holy See looks forward "to the day that peacekeeping efforts in Darfur will finally be fully operational." Furthermore, "there is need for a renewed commitment, involving all member countries, in the pacification and reconstruction of long-suffering Iraq," and "in the search for a solution, through dialogue, of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians."

Mamberti said: "Renewed commitment is needed in assuring that Lebanon will continue to be a free and independent country," the archbishop added, while on the subject of Myanmar, he reiterated Benedict XVI's appeal of last Sunday: "Through dialogue, good will and a spirit of humanity, may a solution to the crisis be found quickly for the good of the country and a better future for all its inhabitants."

Recalling that the year 2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Archbishop claimed that "the most important part of our work in this context is to ensure that the inherent right to life is respected everywhere."

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