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Home / Newsletters / Spring 2004

Newsletter: Spring Issue 2004

From the President's Desk . . .

Dear friends of Path to Peace,

Forty years ago, on April 6, 1964, the then Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr.U Thant wrote to Pope Paul VI inviting him to open a Permanent Observer Mission here in New York. As with all significant anniversaries, that date is considered a milestone for the Holy See in its forty year activity at the UNO.

“When he wants to,” said a representative of the Holy See years ago at an important international meeting, “man can still say the word that counts. For his freedom, for his peace. Our actions, and that of all diplomacy, if it is not to be ephemeral, must be inspired by this word.”

These words encapsulate and fully illustrate the meaning of this happy and fruitful anniversary. A Word that counts. The impact and effectiveness of the Holy See’s words and actions upon international relationships lie in its moral authority.

The authority of the Pope is certainly not based upon military might. He doesn’t have any armed divisions at his disposal. Stalin, who once exclaimed with sarcasm:” How many divisions does the pope have?,” could rest in peace. He posed the question as if to say the pope’s authority did not matter if he could not defend himself. The pope’s authority does not come from an economic or commercial power: all one needs to do is compare the yearly budget of the Holy See with that of another State in the world. The Holy See does not seek the support of an electoral vote, since the Church does not make decisions based upon majority vote; nor is it influenced by the changing tides of public opinion, often forged by the mass media.

The breadth and effectiveness of the pope’s action on the world political scene come from his moral authority. This is evidenced in John Paul II’s encyclical entitled the Splendor of Truth. Love and creative fidelity to the truth are revealed in practically every aspect of his universal and pastoral mission. It springs from his conviction and experience, which can be seen in an address to government officials and politicians who convened in Rome for the Jubilee Year 2000, when he said: “It is not a matter, for the Christian today, to leave the world in response to God’s call, rather, to give testimony to the faith and to be coherent with its proper principles, in the difficult and always new circumstances that characterize the political sphere.”

The authority of John Paul II upon the limelight of the world springs precisely from that coherence with the proper principles that he proposes to politicians. The force of authority is its moral persuasion. And in the final analysis, that is the word that counts.


+ Celestino Migliore

Path to Peace Events


April 6, 2004 marked the fortieth anniversary of the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations. So much has transpired in our world and in our Church during this period. The presence of the Holy See Mission at the United Nations has served as a voicebox of the Holy Father in promoting peace among the family of nations. As with all good work, this Mission has relied and continues to rely on our many collaborators who have contributed their valuable expertise to our work during these past four decades. As we celebrate this significant milestone, we would like to express our gratitude to all our friends and collaborators who have assisted this Mission in advancing the cause of peace in our world.


Many of you have been asking about the date for our Gala Dinner Cruise, normally held in June. For your information, this year the dinner will be held in November. We are pleased to announce that this year’s Path to Peace Award will be bestowed upon His Eminence Angelo Cardinal Sodano, Secretary of State. The demands on the cardinal’s schedule preclude him from coming to the United States prior to November. For this reason, we have scheduled the Gala Dinner at that time. As soon as we receive a confirmation from His Eminence, we will send out a Save Date.

News Brief

The UN Commission for Sustainable Development as well as the Economic and Social Council are extremely busy in deepening and applying the concept of “sustainable development.” The Holy See, through its Permanent Mission, joins these efforts to find efficacious means for the integral human development, keeping in mind the economic, social and environmental dimensions. The choice of the Holy See’s words is significant: “Integral human development” rather than “sustainable development”. The unifying element is, in fact, the centrality of the human person to whom the Creator gave a message of love which calls him to act in a responsible manner.

To this end, in recent months the Path to Peace Foundation hosted two events:

- a lecture on “The economy of communion project: a model for corporate social responsibility”, given by Prof. Luigino Bruni, University of Milan, Political Economy Department, at the Path to Peace Foundation headquarters on 25 February, 2004

- a side event on “How People with no homes become a vibrant Community”, with the participation of Mrs. Edna Villaraza, New Humanity - Philippines and Mr. Ezio Castelli, AVSI - Brazil, at the UN Headquarters, on 21 April 2004.