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Pope Paul VI in the United Nations

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In October 1965, Pope Paul VI became the first pontiff to visit the United Nations. On October 4th, to a special session of the UN General Assembly, he delivered a plea for peace. This message is born from our historic experience. It is as a specialist in humanity that we bring to this Organization the approval of our more recent predecessors, the entire Catholic episcopate, and our own, convinced as we are that this Organization represents the obligatory pathway for modern civilization and world peace.” The pope was received by the Secretary General U Thant (who was seen behind the podium in the second picture).

Apart from his history making, the pontiff achieved very little at the UN. It had little visible effect. His call for the admission of Red China was ignored. His main message was sadly ignored too: in French, the pope solemnly declared, “No more war, never again war. Peace, it is peace that must guide the destinies of people and of all mankind.” The ignored plea however was repeated in 1991 by Pope John Paul II, who continued the tradition of the Head of the Roman Catholic Church addressing the United Nations. 

The LIFE picture was by John Loengard. 

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

April 23, 2009 at 8:34 am

Posted in Politics

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  1. […] The present Pope’s words on unrestricted capitalism are more or less identical to those of Benedict XVI and John Paul II; and his message on Syria, surprise, surprise, is more or less identical in theology and tone to that of John Paul II at the time of the Gulf War. In fact his Syrian message recalls what Pope Paul VI said at the United Nations in New York back in 1965. […]

  2. […] (Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi) to mark the one year anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s historic visit to the United Nations in New York City. On that day, the bell was tolled by three girls and four […]


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