The Director of the Holy See’s Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, denied media reports that suggested Pope Benedict XVI was criticizing the United Nations during a meeting with representatives of Catholic-inspired NGOs last Saturday.
“It is important to attentively respect both the spirit and the letter of what is said, especially when it’s the Pope, as forced journalistic interpretations with attention-grabbing headlines can cause serious misunderstandings and create unjustified tensions,” Father Lombardi said.
“What the Holy Father actually said was that ‘international discussions are frequently characterized by a relativistic logic,’ but, contrary to what has been reported, he did not attack the UN nor did he say it is ‘dominated’ by moral relativism,” the Vatican spokesman explained, referring to some headlines that read, “The Pope is against the UN because of moral relativism.”
According to Lombardi, “Benedict XVI, just like his predecessors, is perfectly aware of the importance of the United Nations for peace and for the defense of human rights, to the point that he has accepted the invitation to visit the UN in New York next year.”
Asked about the statements by UN spokesman Farhan Haq, who said there is no controversy between the Pope and the world body, Father Lombardi said, “There is no need to see attacks where there are none. It is an obvious duty of the Church to carry out the most serious actions in defense of human dignity, even at international organizations with the force of her moral authority.”