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U.N.'s Role Needed Now More Than Ever, Says Archbishop Martino

ROME, APRIL 11, 2003 ( In the wake of the military intervention in Iraq, a Vatican official says a world authority that will ensure peace and promote the development of peoples is more necessary than ever.


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Archbishop Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said: "The crisis situation of the U.N., caused by the war in Iraq, does not contradict but reinforces the appeal in 'Pacem in Terris' for a world political authority."

He made his comments when addressing a meeting that commemorated the 40th anniversary of the publication of Pope John XXIII's encyclical on peace.

The meeting, held at the Lateran University, was moderated by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state.

Archbishop Martino believes that "the common good is a qualitative moral concept that calls for an appropriate world political authority."

However, he clarified that "the U.N. is not a super-state or a super-court; rather, its essence lies in the participatory process of construction of this universal authority."

Quoting a 1965 address of Pope Paul VI, Archbishop Martino explained that the United Nations "is the obligatory path for modern civilization and world peace."

The archbishop, who for 16 years was the permanent observer of the Vatican to the United Nations, explained that "it is time to undertake a constitutional engineering of humanity so that the United Nations can carry out its irreplaceable role."

To achieve this objective, "it is necessary to favor multilateralism, not only at the diplomatic level, but also in the area of development plans," he said.

This requires "the desired revision of the very structure of the United Nations, so that all the member states will find sufficient guarantees of respect for their interests and -- as 'Pacem in Terris' underlines -- of respect of the principle of the dignity of all nations and peoples," he added.

It should be a "subsidiary world authority" to guarantee "a manner of world government that favors peace."

Archbishop Martino concluded by explaining that "the weakening of international organizations might imply a weakening of the consciousness of being one single family."

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