Pope addresses the UN, prays at 9/11 memorial

Deutsche Welle
4 Min Read
(Getty Images/AFP/T.A. Clary)

In his speech to the UN General Assembly, Pope Francis has called for the United Nations (UN) to promote “greater equity” among nations and limit the abuse of power. The pontiff also denounced the misuse of natural resources.

Pope Francis praised the UN for advancing human rights and creating international laws and standards, calling these achievements “lights which help to dispel the darkness of the disorder caused by unrestrained ambitions and collective forms of selfishness”.

In his speech to the UN General Assembly in New York on Friday, as part of his three-day-visit to the US, he told the UN that it needed to promote “greater equity” among nations and limit the abuse of power.

“The experience in the past 70 years…has made it clear that reform and adaptation to the times is always necessary in the pursuit of the ultimate goal of granting all countries, without exception, a share in, and a genuine and equitable influence on decision-making processes,” the pope said.

The Argentine pope, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, denounced the global economic system as “oppressive”, and underlined that institutions and financial lenders needed to “limit every kind of abuse and usury”. At the same time, he called for respect for the “right of the environment”.

“Any harm done to the environment is harm to humanity,” he said. The pope expressed his hope that the UN Paris summit on climate change “will secure fundamental and effective agreements”.

He denounced the misuse of natural resources as a result of “selfish and boundless thirst for power and material prosperity”, which were accompanied by the exclusion of others.

“Economic and social exclusion is a complete denial of human fraternity and a grave offence against human rights and the environment,” Pope Francis said. He also decried efforts to deny education to young girls around the globe.

In his speech, the pontiff praised the nuclear deal struck with Iran and called for the abolition of all nuclear weapons: “The recent agreement on the nuclear question in a sensitive region of Asia and the Middle East is proof of the potential of political good will and of law, exercised with sincerity, patience and constancy.”

After his speech, Pope Francis visited the National 11 September Memorial and Museum. The memorial is dedicated to the nearly 3,000 people killed in the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, and the six victims of a first attack on the Twin Towers in 1993.

After the pope prayed at one of the reflecting pools, inscribed with the names of the victims, and placed a white rose on its edge, the crowd broke into chants of “Francisco, Francisco”. During his visit, he spoke to the families of some of the victims of the worst terror attack on American soil.

das/msh (AP, dpa, Reuters, AFP)

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