UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon introduced Pope Francis as he became the fourth Pope to speak before the UN General Assembly, where 193 countries are represented.
Pope Francis described his vision for protecting the physical and social environment. He suggested that humanity must recognize that it is not the absolute boss of nature. He linked his support for the environment with his opposition to gender ideology. “The defense of the environment and the fight against exclusion demand that we recognize a moral law written into human nature itself, one which includes the natural difference between man and woman, and absolute respect for life in all its stages and dimensions.”
In a firm speech, direct but serene, the Pope also recounted some of the key principles from the UN Charter which have been breached by practices such as the arms trade. “An ethics and a law based on the threat of mutual destruction – and possibly the destruction of all mankind – are self-contradictory and an affront to the entire framework of the United Nations, which would end up as nations united by fear and distrust…There is urgent need to work for a world free of nuclear weapons, in full application of the non-proliferation Treaty, in letter and spirit, with the goal of a complete prohibition of these weapons.”
Then he praised the recent agreement between Iran and major world powers. He also said that the negative consequences arise when military and political interventions are not coordinated within the international community. He pointed to the persecution of Christians and other minorities in the Middle East as an example. At the end of his speech, a choir played a well-known Argentine song for Pope Francis. JRB/ATO CTV