Cardinal Martino Sees World Political Authority as a Basis for Peace

But Not a "Super-state," He Tells UNESCO

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PARIS, NOV. 4, 2003 (Zenit.org).- A 1963 encyclical's recognition of the need for a world political authority has proven to be a contribution for building peace in the era of globalization, says Cardinal Renato Martino.



The president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace expressed this conviction today at the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, when addressing a study seminar to mark the 40th anniversary of Pope John XXIII's encyclical "Pacem in Terris."

The meeting, organized by the justice and peace council in collaboration with the Holy See's permanent observer to UNESCO, was also attended by the U.N. agency's director general, Koichiro Matsuura.

A statement of the Vatican organization confirmed that in his address, Cardinal Martino emphasized the convergence between UNESCO's objectives and the encyclical's message in promoting a genuine culture of peace.

The cardinal stressed the present importance of the contribution of "Pacem in Terris" for building peace in the era of globalization, with its insistent teachings on the unity of the human family, the universal common good, and a world political authority.

Cardinal Martino did not, however, equate a world political authority with the "constitution of a worldwide super-state."

Rather, he said, it is an effort "to continue and go further in the process already under way, of shared construction of transparent and subsidiary levels of authority, also developing the pedagogical potential of international organizations, especially in the defense of human rights."

"According to 'Pacem in Terris,' there must be increasing awareness that those rights are not the fruit of human consensus, no matter how lofty or authoritative, but the expression of an order and the reflection of the dignity of man and of the unity of the human family," Cardinal Martino said.

The unity of the human family is reflected, among other things, in the right to work, the condemnation of racism, the protection of minorities, assistance to fugitives and refugees, and international solidarity in regard to all the needy -- regardless of their citizenship in a specific state.

All of the above are no more than applications of the principle of world citizenship affirmed by "Pacem in Terris," Cardinal Martino said.

Warning against dangers to the cause of peace "by unjustifiable confrontations between cultures and civilizations," and even "of religions," Cardinal Martino indicated the most effective antidote to avoid recourse to war.

What must grow is "a culture of peace based on the four pillars of truth, justice, love and freedom, in keeping with John XXIII's teachings in 'Pacem in Terris,'" he said.

The path of peace "is the only one that makes it possible to build a more just and solidaristic society," the cardinal added. "It is the task of believers and of all men of good will to make every effort so that the future of humanity will be anchored in the cause and culture of peace."