Thursday, Aug. 31, 1978
Today Pope John Paul addressed the diplomatic corps assigned to the Holy See. He spoke, in part, of the unique role that the smallest country on earth and the seat of the Catholic Church plays in international affairs:
In the range of diplomatic posts your role here is unique, just as the mission and competence of the Holy See are unique. Obviously we have no temporal goods to exchange, no economic interests to discuss, such as your States have. Our possibilities for diplomatic interventions are limited and of a special character. They do not interfere with purely temporal, technical and political affairs, which are matters for your Governments.
…Our activity, at the service of the international community is also—we would say, chiefly—situated on another level, one that could be more specifically called pastoral and which belongs properly to the Church. It is a matter of contributing… to forming consciences— chiefly the consciences of Christians but also those of men and women of good will, and through these forming a wider public opinion— regarding the fundamental principles that guarantee authentic civilization and real brotherhood between peoples. These principles are: respect for one’s neighbour, for his life and for his dignity, care for his spiritual and social progress, patience and the desire for reconciliation in the fragile building up of peace; in short all the rights and duties of life in society and international life, as they have been set forth in the Council’s Constitution Gaudium et Spes and in so many messages by the late Pope Paul VI.
Since 1968, the Holy See has been a (non-member) permanent observer state at the United Nations.
What issues do you think the Holy See should be advancing more at the U.N.?