.- The Holy See joined much of Europe yesterday in celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of the end of World War II. Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the United Nations, spoke to the U.N.’s General Assembly in New York yesterday, who marked May 8 and 9 as official days of remembrance for the war’s end.
He told the Assembly that, "There is no doubt [the war] was a terrible conflict, and it is both salutary and sobering to recall that it was the worst of several unnecessary, man-made global catastrophes that made the twentieth century one of the most bitter that humanity has ever known."
He added that, "responsibility in view of these previous catastrophes requires us to develop some considerations."
"First of all," the Archbishop continued, "among the roots of the Second World War was the exaltation of State and race, and the proud self-sufficiency of humanity based upon the manipulation of science, technology and force.”
“The rule of law”, he said, “was no longer a vehicle for the application of justice. ... Secondly, even if we accept that, under some circumstances, a limited and strictly conditioned use of force could be inevitable in order to fulfill the responsibility to protect every State and the international community," no effort should be spared in seeking peaceful solutions.
The Vatican diplomat said that, "Recognition of the tragic and devastating nature of war ... presses us to question not only whether war can be legal and legitimate, but above all, whether it can be avoidable."
"Thirdly," he continued, "the time has now come to focus on and develop a third dimension of the law of war," that is, "how to achieve quickly and effectively the establishment of a just and lasting peace, which is the only admissible goal for the use of force.”
“Thus, the existing international legal instruments covering conduct and activities after war need to be reinforced and extended, ... while also taking into consideration the ethical parameters that the modern conscience and sensitivities have developed, such as reconciliation," he said.
The archbishop closed with his fourth point, saying that, "recently, new emphasis has been placed upon the role of the U.N. as a peace builder. ... The Holy See ... once again expresses full support for the creation of an intergovernmental Peace-building Commission."