"Pope Benedict XVI made an urgent appeal to political and military leaders to protect the safety and security of civilians and guarantee the free flow of humanitarian aid inside Libya.
He said the "worrying news from Libya" in the past few days caused him "deep trepidation and fear," and he kept the North African country's people in his prayers during his Lenten retreat March 13-19.
Speaking to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square March 20 for the recitation of the Angelus, the pope said, "I address a pressing appeal to those who have political and military responsibilities" to ensure the safety and security of defenseless citizens as well as guarantee those offering emergency assistance have access to those in need."
Catholic News Service
As a devout and faithful Catholic, one that believes in the power and necessity of the papacy, I've long questioned the repeated calls by recent popes for a world power that can override individual national decisions. In 2008 Benedict visited the U.N. and had this to say:
“Countries that act unilaterally on the world stage undermine the authority of the United Nations and weaken the broad consensus needed to confront global problems, Pope Benedict said on Friday.
The international community must be “capable of responding to the demands of the human family through binding international rules,” said the 81-year-old pope, who spoke after meeting privately with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.He said the notion of multilateral consensus was “in crisis because it is still subordinated to the decisions of a few, whereas the world’s problems call for interventions in the form of collective action by the international community.”
Sounds good on paper, right? There are two problems with this approach, at least as I see it. The first is that it seems to violate the principle of subsidiarity, a foundational social teaching of the Catholic Church. All solutions should come from the lowest possible level. And power tends to concentrate. If we allow a global authority any power over us it will, slowly and inexorably, aggregate power unto itself, consuming the rights of individual nations and states.
The other problem is that any global organization will be run by politicians. Politicians are always looking for ways to grab more power for themselves while hiding their efforts from the people. What better place to do this than from inside a giant global organization. This current U.N. driven attack against Libya is a perfect example.
The attack, which I believe is purely about oil, has been shrouded by lofty words calling for the restoration of human rights and security for the people of Libya. If there were any real concern at all for the people among the leadership of the U.N. the pope wouldn't be talking about concerns for their safety. But this isn't about people, its about one man, Qaddafi. And its about one country, America, using the obscurity of U.N. actions and mandates to attempt to carry out its own political objectives behind and under the curtain of international agreements and authority. We need to get rid of him to stabilize the oil supply because Europe depends on Libyan oil and we depend on gasoline refined in Europe to supply East Coast drivers.
So now the pope is concerned because the organization he has promoted is being used to run cover for a war for oil that will invariably cause abuses of human rights. And because it's a war carried out by this same global institution how can any one nation be blamed? And how will the pope make the argument that this war isn't about human rights when the system that he has called for to intervene "in the form of collective action by the international community" has done just that? Is the pope so blind that he believes that the U.N. will function as some sort of collective nirvana, a place where Swaziland will have the same political power as America, England, France, Russia and China?
The U.N. does not and will not work as some sort of buffer to unilateral abuses of power by individual states. Instead it is a smokescreen designed and used to cover them. And the pope ought to be able to understand this.