Vatican: Pontiff Didn't Attack U.N.

Clarifies Comments Made to NGOs

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 3, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI has not accused the United Nations of moral relativism, despite some media reports, explained a Vatican spokesman.

Jesuit Father Federico Lomdardi said today that "forced journalistic interpretations" were spread in various media outlets regarding the speech that the Holy Father gave Saturday to the first Forum of Catholic-Inspired Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs), organized by the Secretariat of State and held in the Vatican last weekend.

"It is important to respect with attention the letter and the spirit of what one says, in particular the Pope, because forced journalistic interpretations, with attention-seeking headlines, can cause unintended burdens and provoke unjustified tensions," declared the director of the Vatican press office.

"The Pope said exactly, 'International discussions often seem marked by a relativistic logic.' In contrast to what was written, he had not attacked the United Nations, nor had he said that it is 'dominated' by moral relativism," explained Father Lombardi.

He continued: "Benedict XVI, as well as his predecessors, is perfectly conscious of the importance of the United Nations for peace and the defense of human rights, to the point that with joy he has accepted the invitation to visit the glass palace of New York next year."

"One does not have to see attacks where there are none," added the Vatican spokesman.

Responding to the media reports, U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq affirmed that "the United Nations was born from an agreement among states, and it shouldn't be forgotten that one of the cornerstones of the United Nations is the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man."

He added that the ethical principles of the founding document of the United Nations are the same as those the Pope draws on, and they "are not negotiable by their nature and by their role as the foundation of social life."

Benedict XVI will visit the U.N. headquarters in April as part of his apostolic visit to the United States.