April 10, 2008 / 10:30 PM / 11 years ago

Pope to attack "might is right" notion at U.N.

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Pope Benedict is unlikely to discuss specific world trouble spots but will assail the notion that “might is right” when he addresses the United Nations next week, a papal envoy said on Thursday.

Pope Benedict XVI blesses the faithful during his general audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican April 9, 2008. REUTERS/Max Rossi

The German-born pontiff’s speech in the General Assembly when he visits the United Nations on April 18 during a five-day visit to the United States is certain to be scrutinized for any reference to current political topics.

But the Vatican’s permanent observer at the world body, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, said Benedict would focus on more general issues of peace and human rights.

“Pope Benedict won’t necessarily touch upon specific crises in the world: unfortunately, they are too many to be dealt with in a few minutes,” he told an audience of nongovernmental organizations and journalists.

“But surely, coming to the U.N. as a pilgrim of peace, he will say that we cannot base our relations on the false notion that might makes right, that we cannot build our future on a simple balance of power,” Migliore said.

“No, our future must be based on respect for universal truths and our common humanity.”

Benedict’s U.N. visit will be the fourth by a pontiff. Pope Paul VI came in 1965 for the world body’s 20th anniversary and Pope John Paul II in 1979 and 1995 for the 50th anniversary.

“It’s quite normal to expect that, in the wake of his predecessors, Pope Benedict will speak of peace,” Migliore said.

The Vatican has observer status at the United Nations. Migliore told questioners it preferred that to full membership because it enabled the Holy See to stay out of direct involvement in political, economic and military issues.

The archbishop noted that this year marked the 60th anniversary of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Benedict has often spoken of the need for respect for rights, including religious freedom.

“The papacy ... works at the U.N. ... above all by highlighting and insisting on essential values and fundamental rights. I can anticipate that next week Pope Benedict will do just that,” Migliore said.

Editing by Peter Cooney

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