A Universal Sacred Mission and the Universal Secular Organization: The Holy See and the United Nations
[& Alan Chong] Politics, Religion & Ideology 12, no. 3 (2011), 335-354.
26 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2017 Last revised: 8 Jul 2017
Date Written: June 10, 2017
Today, the Holy See has formal diplomatic relations with almost all states around the globe as well as with the United Nations where it holds the curious position of a Permanent Observer. Representing a universal sacred mission, the Holy See views the UN as one of the most important avenues in international relations for pursuing its aims. Vatican diplomats have thus been at the forefront of lobbying for human dignity at the UN in various conferences and even Popes have directly addressed the UN’s General Assembly. In examining relations between the Holy See and the UN, at least two issues are obvious and of primary importance: first, both institutions share a universal approach: the latter to represent all states of the world and the Holy See to represent all Catholics. Furthermore, both preach to their constituencies that they represent a universal idealist mission – to pursue peace and work towards the universalization of human rights. Second, the Holy See enjoys a Permanent Observer status within the UN and, also a seemingly privileged status among all other religious communities. By adopting short studies of the Holy See’s interventions in three dimensions of human rights advocacy at the UN, along with its supplement of the UN’s mission in correcting capitalist development, the article concludes that the Catholic religion has returned in a role that reaffirms the possibilities of enhancing society on a globalist scale rather than merely reinforcing an international society of sovereign states.
Keywords: Catholic Church, Holy See, International Relations, Pope, Religion, United Nations, Vatican
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