Vatican says Pope did not slam UN

Vatican Press Office director Fr Federico Lombardi says inaccurate media reports accusing Pope Benedict of criticising the United Nations are creating unjustified tensions.

Catholic News Agency reports that Fr Lombardi said published news articles which suggest the Pope accused the UN - at a meeting with representatives of Catholc NGOs on the weekend - of being dominated by moral relativism are false.

"It is important to attentively respect both the spirit and the letter of what is said, especially when it's the Pope, as forced journalistic interpretations with attention-grabbing headlines can cause serious misunderstandings and create unjustified tensions," Fr Lombardi said.

"What the Holy Father actually said was that international discussions are frequently characterised by a relativistic logic," but, contrary to what has been reported, he did not attack the UN nor did he say it is dominated by moral relativism," he said.

According to Lombardi, the Pope, is perfectly aware of the significance of the United Nations for peace and human rights defence, and, to illustrate this he has accepted the invitation to visit the UN in New York next year.

"There is no need to see attacks where there are none," he said.

"It is an obvious duty of the Church to carry out the most serious actions in defence of human dignity, even at international organisations with the force of her moral authority."

UN spokesman Farhan Haq said there is no controversy between the Pope and the world body.


Vatican spokesman denies Benedict XVI criticized UN (Catholic News Agency 04/12/07)

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Vatican News Service
United Nations

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5 Dec 2007