Pope Benedict XVI spoke Friday to the United Nations General Assembly, offering a message that uncompromisingly opposed the use of violence to resolve human conflicts. His speech also dealt with the issues of human rights, religious freedom around the world, and using technology to lift all people rather than exploiting them.
He did not name names, offering no specific criticism of the Bush Administration or other sponsors of violence around the world. But he specifically called on the world's diplomats to take the lead in resolving conflicts, stating, "What is needed is a deeper search for ways of pre-empting and managing conflicts by exploring every possible diplomatic avenue, and giving attention and encouragement to even the faintest sign of dialogue or desire for reconciliation."
He added that this pursuit of the common good should be based on observance of "the golden rule." Citing St Augustine, he said, "Since rights and the resulting duties follow naturally from human interaction, it is easy to forget that they are the fruit of a commonly held sense of justice built primarily upon solidarity among the members of society, and hence valid at all times and for all peoples. This intuition was expressed as early as the fifth century by Augustine of Hippo, one of the masters of our intellectual heritage. He taught that the saying: Do not do to others what you would not want done to you 'cannot in any way vary according to the different understandings that have arisen in the world.'"
At the end of his address, given in French and in English, he offered good wishes to all the people of the world. Speaking in Spanish, then Arabic, Mandarin, and in Russian, he said "Peace and Prosperity with God's help!"