Statements

Friday 26 September 2014
Address of His Eminence Pietro Cardinal Parolin, Secretary of State of His Holiness Pope Francis
Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation / Fordham University on Friday, 26 September 2014
Address of His Eminence Pietro Cardinal Parolin,  Secretary of State of His Holiness Pope Francis At the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation / Fordham University  Friday, 26 September 2014Father McShane, President of Fordham University, Professor Schwalbenberg, Director of the “Graduate Program in International Political Economy and Development”, Distinguished Faculty Members, Members and Friends of the Centesimus Annus pro Pontifice Foundation, Ladies and Gentlemen: I am deeply grateful to Fordham University and to the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation for the invitation to speak this evening. Before I proceed, I have the great honor to convey to you all the prayerful best wishes of the Holy Father Pope Francis, who is deeply committed to the preservation and promotion of peace, prosperity and well-being of all people, especially the poorest and the most marginalized. I am very pleased to have this opportunity to share with you some reflections on the theme of “Poverty and Development” from a Catholic Perspective, in particular in light of the recent teachings of His Holiness Pope Francis. The themes of this conference are very important. Peace and the protection of peoples, and human and economic development are two of the biggest challenges that the United Nations will face in the course of the current 69th Session of the General Assembly. Moreover, for us, they form part of the vast patrimony of Catholic social teaching, and are particularly dear to Pope Francis. Consequently, these issues are also among the top priorities of the Holy See’s international activity and advocacy. This evening, I would like to offer some brief considerations on these issues. Last August 14, during the in-flight press conference on his return to Rome from South Korea, Pope Francis affirmed “the right to stop an unjust aggressor”, emphasizing at the same time that the means to enforce, when necessary, the respect of this right must be properly evaluated. The term “responsibility to protect” encapsulates the Church’s teaching on legitimate defense and, consequently, the Holy See’s position in its capacity as an international juridical entity. To avoid a lengthy discourse on the theme this evening, I would simply refer you to the Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the United Nations General Assembly, on the occasion of his visit on April 18, 2008. Benedict XVI described the “responsibility to protect” in these terms: “Recognition of the unity of the human family, and attention to the innate dignity of every man and woman, today find renewed emphasis in the principle of the responsibility to protect. Every State has the primary duty to protect its own population from grave and sustained violations of human rights, as well as from the consequences of humanitarian crises. If States are unable to guarantee such protection, the international community must intervene with the juridical means provided in the United Nations Charter and in other international instruments. The action of the international community and its institutions, provided that it respects the principles undergirding the international order, should never be interpreted as an unwarranted imposition or a limitation of sovereignty.” The Holy See hopes that the alarming, escalating phenomenon of international terrorism, new in some of its expressions and utterly ruthless in its barbarity, be an occasion for a deeper study on how to re-enforce the international juridical framework of a multilateral application of the responsibility to protect people from all forms of unjust aggression. In fact, Ladies and Gentlemen, I believe that the current phenomenon of terrorism and the use of terror to advance ideological or religious violent extremism puts this question before us, namely: does this phenomenon reveal the insufficiency of the actual international legal system? Or is it simply a lack of will or lack of consensus on the part of the international community to apply what is already there? On September 24 last, the Security Council adopted Resolution 2178, creating a new policy and legal framework for international action in response to the threat of Foreign Terrorist Fighters. The Resolution requires countries to take certain steps to address this threat, including to prevent suspected foreign terrorist fighters from entering or transiting their territories and to implement legislation to prosecute them. The Resolution also, among others, provides a framework for long-term monitoring and assistance to countries in their efforts to address this threat. I am citing this example as an indirect answer to my own question. In other words, I believe that evolving and new forms of the same phenomenon of terrorism or of other threats to peace and security is forcing the international community to adapt its laws and norms in order to counter effectively these new threats. That being said, I must, however, note that norms regulating “legitimate defense” and humanitarian intervention have long existed1, and that the mechanisms of the United Nations for preventing war, stopping aggressors, protecting populations and providing help to victims, are an integral part of such norms. Moreover, as one can easily suppose, the spectacular 9/11 terrorist attacks accelerated the process, which was already underway, of defining and developing the legal instruments needed to combat and prevent international terrorism, by updating various conventions2 and framing new international instruments3. The principal international conventions against terrorism, trafficking of arms and drugs, money laundering and organized crime, were ratified. The General Assembly of the United Nations, the Secretary General and the Security Council developed a new corpus of norms, which has produced many positive results in the fight against terrorism within the framework of the international rule of law4. What seems to be lacking oftentimes is the consensus in the international community, in particular among the major powers, on how to effectively apply these norms in the concrete and in specific cases. National or regional interests remain strong factors that prevent an even and fair application of these norms and laws to specific cases, thereby weakening their authoritativeness and credibility. The Holy See believes that an agreed, binding international juridical framework is the best instrument to effectively counter the new threats to peace and security. In fact, the present world order, while primarily characterized by sovereign states, is more and more regulated by commonly agreed international norms. That after the Second World War sovereign States came together to give birth to the United Nations was a clear expression of a collective will to come together, “determined”, as the Preamble of the United Nations solemnly declares, “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war [...] and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small...” The Holy See hopes that the gravity of the hour, with its trail of death, blood and tears, will further spur the international community, in particular the United Nations, to enforce the observance of the right and the responsibility to protect, and to amend and strengthen, where necessary, the relevant norms and mechanisms, to ensure that innocent and vulnerable groups or peoples can effectively be protected from all forms of aggression. I now would like to share with you briefly some considerations on the theme of development. I would simply refer to two recent documents of Pope Francis. The first is his Message to the World Economic Forum of 17 January 2014, and the second is his Address to the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination of 9 May 2014. In his message to the World Economic Forum, the Holy Father primarily addressed himself to heads of multinational corporations. Pope Francis recognized the important role that modern industry plays in the technical and scientific progress of humanity, by “stimulating and developing the immense resources of human intelligence”. Expressing his confidence in the abilities of the business world, the Holy Father also reiterated the importance of economic activity, conducted by “men and women of great personal honesty and integrity, whose work is inspired and guided by high ideals of fairness, generosity and concern for the authentic development of the human family”. Understood this way, economic activity should contribute to integral human development for everyone, so that “humanity is served by wealth and not ruled by it”. In other words, while stressing the right to private economic enterprise and the advantages which derive from it, there must be also the firm commitment to ensure that this enterprise strive for the common good. In brief, while it is legitimate to profit from one’s economic activity or from one’s capital, this must not be detached from the values of generosity, honesty, equity and justice, values that can mitigate the nefarious effects of an unbridled, unregulated capitalism. The second document that I would like to mention is the Holy Father’s Address to the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination. His Holiness recalled that “the gaze, often silent, of that part of the human family which is cast off, left behind, ought to awaken the conscience of political and economic agents and lead them to generous and courageous decisions [...] at the service of men and women”. In continuity with the teachings of Benedict XVI in Caritas in Veritate (Nos. 6, 24-40, et al.) and in keeping with the teachings of Saint John Paul II in Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (Nos. 42- 43) and Centesimus Annus (43), Pope Francis affirms the necessity of harmonious collaboration among all social forces - business, governments, civil society - each one committed to the pursuit of the common good according to one’s area of expertise and responsibility. To this end, everyone should “work together in promoting a true, worldwide ethical mobilization which, beyond all differences of religious or political convictions, will spread and put into practice a shared ideal of fraternity and solidarity, especially with regard to the poorest and those most excluded”. Ladies and Gentlemen, I strongly encourage you to continue to deepen your understanding of the Social Doctrine of the Church, so that in its light you may be able to identify and respond accordingly to the new challenges of today. Your reflections will be a significant contribution to the wealth of the Social Doctrine of the Church and, even more importantly, to the Church’s constant work of solidarity in favor of those who have less or nothing in life. Enjoy the rest of the evening and have a fruitful conference! Thank you and God bless! 1 Many of the norms of International Law have ancient origins, traceable back even as far as the Fathers of the Church and scholastic thinkers, and have been developed according to the circumstances of history, up to the current formulations of International Law. 2 In 2005, the international community also introduced substantive changes to three of these universal instruments to specifically account for the threat of terrorism. On 8 July 2005, states adopted the Amendments to the Convention of the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, and on 14 October they agreed to both the Protocol of 2005 to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigations and the Protocol of 2005 to the Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf. 3 Two more legal instruments were added in 2010: the 2010 Convention on the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Relating to International Civil Aviation and the 2010 Protocol Supplementary to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft. These treaties further criminalize the act of using civil aircraft as weapons, and of using dangerous material to attack aircraft or other targets on the ground. The unlawful transport of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons and their related material becomes punishable under the treaties. Moreover, planners and organizers of attacks against aircraft and airports will have no safe haven. Making a threat against civil aviation may also trigger criminal liability. 4 On 8 September 2006, the General Assembly adopted a Global Strategy Against Terrorism, the Secretary General created the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) and the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) was established in the Security Council. The action of these two organisms of the UN, and the various resolutions of the Security Council on this matter, beginning with Resolution 1373 (2001), has resulted in a new international norm. In 2012, the Holy See itself joined this global strategy, by ratifying and agreeing to the three foundational Conventions: International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.