On April 30, Pope Benedict XVI delivered the following thoughts during the General Audience. Reading this is a good way for us to relive the inspirations of that joyful week.
In a country like the United States of America, with a multicultural vocation, the meetings with representatives of other religions have taken on special importance: in Washington, in the John Paul II Cultural Center, with Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Jains; in New York, the visit to the synagogue. Moments, especially this latter one, which were very cordial, which have confirmed the common commitment to dialogue and the promotion of peace and spiritual and moral values. In [a country] that can consider itself the homeland of religious liberty, I wanted to recall that this should always be defended with a joint effort, so as to avoid any kind of discrimination or prejudice. And I stressed the great responsibility of the religious representatives, both in teaching respect and nonviolence, and in nourishing the deepest questions of human consciousness. The ecumenical celebration, in the parish church of St. Joseph, was also characterized by great cordiality. Together, we asked the Lord that he increase in Christians the capacity of giving reasons, also with an ever greater unity, for their unique hope (cf. 1 Peter 3:15) based in a common faith in Jesus Christ.
The other principal objective of my trip was the visit to the central offices of the United Nations Organization: the fourth visit of a Pope, after that of Paul VI in 1965 and the two visits of John Paul II, in 1979 and 1995. In the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Providence permitted me to confirm, in the most great and authoritative supranational assembly, the value of this declaration, recalling its universal basis, that is, the dignity of the human person created by God in his image and likeness to cooperate in the world with his great design of life and peace.
Respect for human rights is rooted, as well as in peace, in "justice," that is, in an ethical order valid in all times and for all peoples, which can be summarized in the famous maxim: "Do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you," or, expressed positively in the words of Jesus, "Do unto others what you would have them do unto you" (Matthew 7:12). Upon this base, which constitutes the characteristic contribution of the Holy See to the United Nations Organization, I renewed and I renew again today, the commitment of the Catholic Church in contributing to strengthen international relations, characterized by the principles of responsibility and solidarity.
....continued next week.