VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The world authority envisioned by two popes as a way to ensure global peace and justice would not be a superpower, but primarily a moral force with limited jurisdiction, Pope Benedict XVI said.
The pope made his remarks Dec. 3 to a plenary session of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which was scheduled to meet for three days to discuss the theme of “political authority and global governance.”
In his address, Pope Benedict recalled that Blessed John XXIII had called for the “construction of a world community, with a corresponding authority,” to serve the “common good of the human family.”
The pope also cited his own 2009 encyclical “Caritas in Veritate,” in which he called for a “true world political authority” to ensure international cooperation, peace and environmental protection.
The church offers “principles of reflection, criteria of judgment and practical guidelines” for such an organization, but no concrete legal or political recommendations, Pope Benedict said in his address.
Yet the pope stipulated that the proposed body would not be a “superpower, concentrated in the hands of a few, which would dominate all peoples, exploiting the weakest.” The authority in question, he said, “must be understood, first and foremost, as a moral force, a power to influence in accordance with reason, that is, a participatory authority, limited by law in its jurisdiction.”
The council’s president, Cardinal Peter Turkson, told Vatican Radio that the agenda for the plenary session would include the topic of global financial governance as a response to the world financial crisis.
In October 2011, the council called for establishment of a “central world bank” to regulate the global financial industry and the international money supply as a step toward the world authority envisioned by Blessed John and Pope Benedict.
Pope Benedict’s address also touched on threats to human dignity from different forms of materialism in contemporary culture.
“The man of today is considered primarily from a biological point of view, or as ‘human capital,’ a ‘resource,’ a cog in a productive and financial machine that dominates him,” the pope said.
“New ideologies — such as the hedonistic and egoistic one of sexual and reproductive rights, or that of a disorderly financial capitalism that transgresses politics and dismantles the real economy — contribute to make the employee and his work seem ‘minor’ goods and to undermine the natural foundations of society, especially the family,” he said.
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