under the patronage of St Joseph and St Dominic
By the rivers of Babylon there we sat and wept, remembering Zion;
BENEDICT XVI AND THE UNITED NATIONS
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October 2005 marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. On three previous occasions have Popes attended and addressed the General Assembly of the UN; Pope Paul VI, on 5th October 1965, and Pope John Paul II on 2nd October 1979, and again on 5th October 1995. It is entirely likely that an invitation was extended to Pope Benedict XVI to attend the 60th anniversary celebrations next month. Yet there is no indication from Rome that he will attend. Significantly, on 18th September, the Cardinal Secretary of State, Angelo Sodano, addressed the participants at the Summit of Heads of State and Government at the United Nations General Assembly.
The tone of Cardinal Sodano’s Address leaves the impression that a sea change has occurred in the attitude of the papacy towards the UN.
When, on its 20th anniversary (5th October 1965), Pope Paul VI addressed the United Nations General Assembly, he said this, inter alia––
Twenty four years later, on 2nd October 1979, Pope John Paul II told the General Assembly that the United Nations––will never cease to be the forum, the high tribune, from which all man’s problems are appraised in truth and justice. He described the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 as a milestone on the long and difficult path of the human race. 
The concessions by Paul VI and John Paul II, each the elected representative of Almighty God, the Vicar of Christ on earth, that so secular a body could have the moral authority referred to in these speeches were extraordinary, to say the least. No Pope before them in the whole history of Christendom, save perhaps John XXIII, would have attended such a body, or have made such concessions. Indeed, when one looks at their writings, it seems inevitable that every Pope from Pius IX to Pius XII would have condemned such a course . This lack of support from these Popes is, doubtless, the reason Paul VI limited the approval he said he was bringing to the UN General Assembly in 1965 to that of our more recent predecessors.
The approach of Paul VI and John Paul II was, in the view of this commentator, remarkable for its forgetfulness of the unique place held by God’s holy Church in the world, and of the dignity of the supreme office of Pope. There was in each of their attendances at the UN, moreover, an element of apparent submission of the authority of the one Divine and infallible institution on earth, the Catholic Church, to that only too human and fallible institution.
The United Nations is known to be a haven for those of Masonic inclinations and affiliations. Its colours as such have become increasingly evident with the passage of time. Its anti-religious bias, and that of its satellites, has been a continuing cause of concern to the Church and to Catholic commentators. Little wonder, then, that when, on 5th October 1995, on its 50th anniversary, and thirty years to the day from the attendance by Paul VI, John Paul II again addressed the General Assembly, he was more circumspect. He said––
This was a step back from the solemn moral ratification of this lofty organisation of Pope Paul VI and from his assurance that the United Nations represented the obligatory pathway for modern civilization and world peace. But, with respect, it still left much to be desired.
Conscious of her Divine provenance, the Catholic Church has, with good reason, ever been distrustful of merely human institutions. While extending due respect to the authority of those charged with the care of each society (the state) to govern its citizens, the Church has not made a practice of endorsing human organisations, let alone an organisation which, when all is said, is only a collective of the governments of such states with regimes that range from the good to the downright evil.
Address Of 18.9.2005
The Cardinal reduces the collective to its component parts, and highlights its fallibility—[O]rdinary men and women… are saying to the leaders of the nations: Give us a modern institution, capable of taking resolutions and then enforcing them. This is an insistent appeal issued to us by men and women who are disheartened by promises made and not kept, resolutions adopted and not enforced.
He deprecates the view of man seen as a unit of the state. In essence, [the UN’s Responsibility to Protect] refers to the pre-eminent dignity of every single man and woman over the state and over every ideological system. Towards the end of his Address, he is more trenchant still—[W]ould it not be better to speak clearly of the ‘health of women and children’ instead of using the term ‘reproductive health’? Could there be [in such a euphemism] a desire to return to the language of a ‘right to abortion?’
The Place Of Christ Among The Nations
The reminder by the Church’s Secretary of State that the United Nations is no more than another human institution, limited and fallible, is a welcome return to reality. While it is a long way short of the reassertion by the Pope or his representative of the Lordship of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, over the nations, it is a step in the right direction.
 Cf. Pius IX, Qui Pluribus (On Faith and Religion) 9.11.1846; Leo XIII, Sapientiae Christianae (On Christians as Citizens) 10.1.1890, nn. 4, 7, 17, 27 Pius X, E Supremi (On the Restoration of all things in Christ), 4.10.1903, n. 15; Benedict XV, Pacem, Dei Munus Pulcherimum, (On Peace and Christian Reconciliation), 23.5.1920, n. 15; Pius XI, Mortalium Animos (On Christian Unity), 6.1.1928, nn. 2, 4; Pius XII, Summi Pontificatus (On the Unity of Human Society), 20.10.1939, n. 52