Today the Vatican released a letter from Pope Benedict XVI, commemorating John Paul’s visit, 25 years ago to UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and reiterating the Church’s belief that true peace can only be reached by promoting human dignity, from conception until natural death.
The Holy Father’s message was sent to Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, archivist and librarian of the Holy Roman Church, who is currently in Paris representing the Holy See at a colloquium entitled "Culture, Reason and Freedom", commemorating the anniversary of the late John Paul’s UNESCO.
Pope Benedict’s letter noted the "immense recognition due to Pope John Paul who, with his personal and cultural experience, always underlined in his teachings the central and irreplaceable position of man, as well as his fundamental dignity, the source all of his inalienable rights.”
“Twenty-five years ago”, he said, “the Pope declared at UNESCO headquarters that 'in the cultural domain, man is always first: man is the primordial and basic fact of culture'."
The Holy Father also echoed John Paul's words to UNESCO, reminding members of their responsibility to, "Build peace by starting with the foundation: respect for all of man's rights, those linked to his material and economic dimension as well as those linked to the spiritual and interior dimension of his existence in this world."
Pope Benedict stressed the Vatican’s concern for and involvement in the work of UNESCO, through her permanent observer to the organization, saying that, "in a world which is both multiple and divided, and often submissive to the strong demands of globalization of economic relations and, even more, of information, it is important at the highest levels to mobilize the energies of intelligence so that man's rights to education and culture are recognized, especially in the poorest countries.”
“In a world where man must learn more and more to recognize and to respect his brother,” the Pope continued, “the Church wishes to make her own contribution to the service of the human community, while pointing out ... the relation that binds each person to the Creator of all life and the source of the inalienable dignity of each person, from conception to life's natural end."