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September 24, 2021

Cardinal Pietro Parolin Addresses the
United Nations General Assembly

On September 25, His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See, delivered a statement during the Seventy-Sixth Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the theme "Building resilience through hope: to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalize the United Nations." The meeting was held at the UN Headquarters in New York and Cardinal Parolin gave his remarks via pre-recorded message. 

In his statement, he stressed the importance of maintaining hope as it "fosters resilience" and "inspires us to put in hard work even when we may not be able to see results achieved in our lifetime."

Resilience, he said, requires a robust sense of fraternity and solidarity as well as examination of the failures of economic systems and health care systems to respond adequately to the crisis of the pandemic. 

He said that the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Agenda by 2030 has “now because some a daunting challenge that tremendous efforts will be needed.”  

He called for the international community to “strengthen our ambition” in anticipation of November’s COP26 in Glasgow, which we said would provide opportunity for the international community to "commit anew to the protection of our common home."

Cardinal Parolin emphasized that commitments to a global ceasefire and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons are necessary for respecting the rights of people. 

Human rights violations and disregard for the inherent dignity of the human person manifest, he said, a "crisis of human relationships,” that must be addressed, because it has “enormous practical consequences” for human rights. 

Finally, he spoke about the need to revitalize the United Nations to sure that it "lives up to its true and commonly agreed upon aims, rather than being a tool of the powerful.” He highlighted in particular the need to safeguard the principal of consensus in negotiations and to avoid turning all UN organs into “bodies that focus on a limited number of disputed issues.”

To watch the video recording of his remarks, please click here. The statement can be read in full here.


Archbishop Paul Gallagher at the
United Nations Food Systems Summit

On September 24, H.E. Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States of the Holy See, delivered a statement during the United Nations Food Systems Summit, held at the UN Headquarters in New York. He delivered his remarks via pre-recorded video message. 

Archbishop Gallagher welcomed the Secretary-General's launching of the Food Systems Summit initiative, reflecting that there is "a pressing need to intensify international action towards transforming food systems and combating food insecurity and malnutrition." He echoed Pope Francis' sentiment that hunger in the twenty-first century is "not only a tragedy for humanity, but also a real cause for shame."

He said that food is essential for a dignified life, and that "food for all" is a moral duty. In this regard, he added, we should strive to provide the poor and vulnerable with resources to support themselves and their families in the long-term. 

He stressed the need to move away from a "throwaway culture" and toward a "culture of care" that considers the human dignity of all. He concluded by mentioning the many initiatives of the Catholic Church on the ground worldwide that strive to tackle hunger and food insecurity.

To watch the pre-recorded video of his remarks, please click here. The statement can be read in full here.


Archbishop Paul Gallagher on the
20th Anniversary of the
Durban Declaration and Program of Action

On September 22, H.E. Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States of the Holy See, delivered a pre-recorded video statement at the United Nations High-Level Meeting to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. The meeting was on the theme of "reparations, racial injustice and equality for people of African descent."

In his statement, he said racism is "rooted in the erroneous and evil claim that one human being has less dignity than another," adding that this violates the foundational ethical summons to act toward "one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

Archbishop Gallagher hoped that the Permanent Forum for People of African Descent would contribute to efforts aimed at providing justice for victims of racism. He stressed that wider efforts to tackle racism and related intolerance must "never become a justification for States to violate the human rights of minorities or to censor minority opinions."

He called attention to the Durban Declaration's expressed concern about intolerance for, and violence against, religious groups, noting that intolerance on the basis of religion or belief  leads to hostility and atrocity crimes. In the most serious of situations, he said, "some religious minorities in certain regions even face extinction."

To view his pre-recorded video message, please click here. The statement can be read in full here.


Archbishop Paul Gallagher at the
UN High Level Dialogue on Energy

On September 24, H.E. Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States of the Holy See, delivered a statement at the High-Level Dialogue on Energy, held at the UN Headquarters in New York. He submitted his statement via pre-recorded video message. 

In his intervention, he highlighted the necessity of having access to reliable and affordable energy if poverty and hunger are to be eliminated. He said reasonable energy pricing, ethical business practices, and subsidies for the poorest are essential.

He warned against the negative effects of energy production, adding that the poor and those in vulnerable situations are often the most impacted. He added that climate change can lead to forced migration and destroys livelihoods.

Finally, Archbishop Gallagher concluded by describing a transition to accessible and clean energy as "a duty that we owe to millions of our brothers and sisters around the world."

To view his video message, please click here. The statement can be read in full here.


Covering High Level Week

High-Level Week is one of the busiest times for the Mission's staff and interns. The Holy See delegation was always represented in the General Assembly Hall for the duration of High-Level week. Shown on top is Ewa Rejman covering the UN General Assembly debate. Shown below is a group of staff and interns gathered to watch Archbishop Paul Gallagher deliver the Holy See's statement on the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration. 


Path to Peace Gala
November 16, 2021

New York, NY — UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres will be awarded the prestigious Path to Peace Award by Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and President of the Path to Peace Foundation at the Foundations’s annual gala on November 16, 2021 at Guastavino's in Manhattan.

Guterres was originally scheduled to receive the award in May 2020, but the 2020 Gala was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Guterres was chosen by the Path to Peace Foundation Board in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations and its long-term commitment to securing peace in the world. 

"The Path to Peace Foundation will honor the United Nations’ work for peace during the last 75 years and support its continuing efforts to bring an end to hostilities,” said Archbishop Caccia in announcing Guterres as the honoree. 

“The first pillar of the U.N. Charter, written as World War II horrors were concluding, is to ‘save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.’ During the past 75 years, the United Nations has worked to make and build lasting peace, which must be achieved anew by every generation,” Archbishop Caccia added.

He also indicated that the Path to Peace Foundation will honor the particular contributions of Secretary-General Guterres “for his many years of service in the cause of peace, as the ninth Secretary-General, and previously as United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Prime Minister of Portugal, and in multiple other roles stretching back decades.”

Prior to Christmas in 2019, Mr. Guterres met with Pope Francis in the Vatican and together they recorded an unprecedented joint appeal that the peace on earth and good will to all men and women marked by Jesus’ birth might irradiate all situations of war and places where human dignity is violated.

Mr. Guterres will be the third U.N. Secretary-General of the United Nations to receive the Path to Peace Award, following Boutros Boutros-Ghali (1993) and Kofi Annan (2000). The award has been bestowed on Kings and Queens, Princes and Princesses, Presidents and Prime Ministers, Vatican Secretaries of State, Ambassadors, Grand Masters, courageous Archbishops, and heroes in the humanitarian and peace-building fields.

The Path to Peace Foundation was established in 1991 to support the Holy See Mission and spread the message of peace by which the Catholic Church, through the words and activities of the Pope and of the Holy See, strives to “guide our steps into the path of peace” (Lk 1:79). The Foundation is tax-exempt 501c3 foundation.

Funds raised allow the Path to Peace Foundation, among other things, to help the Holy See Mission to keep a vigorous presence at the United Nations and to bring the light of Catholic Social teaching to problems in the world. The Foundation also keeps at the forefront of considerations matters of conscience, peace, justice, the dignity of every person, interreligious harmony, the good of the family, the poor and the environment.

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