By John-Henry Westen

  VATICAN CITY, April 27, 2007 ( – Yesterday afternoon, Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. announced that Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the invitation presented recently by Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the United Nations, to visit the headquarters of that organization in New York.

“The Pope,” said Fr. Lombardi, “has accepted the invitation in general terms, and has expressed his willingness to visit the U.N. headquarters, although as yet there is no date or program for the trip.”

  While the date has not been announced, it is likely that the visit will occur in October so Benedict could address the General Assembly of the United Nations.   Last year Baltimore’s Cardinal William Keeler announced that the Pope would likely visit the United States in 2007.

  Prior to his election to the Pontificate, then-Cardinal Ratzinger was a vocal critic of the United Nations support for the culture of death.  Writing in the Italian newspaper Avvenire in 2000, Ratzinger denounced the UN vision of a “new world order.” He specifically condemned the philosophy coming from UN conferences and the Millennium Summit which “proposes strategies to reduce the number of guests at the table of humanity, so that the presumed happiness [we] have attained will not be affected.”

  At that time, the man who is now Pope Benedict, urged Christians to protest the dangerous “new world order” proposed by the United Nations.  He said, “At this stage of the development of the new image of the new world, Christians – and not just them but in any case they even more than others – have the duty to protest.”

  John Paul II visited the U.N. headquarters in 1979, and again in 1995 for the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of the organization.

  (with files from the Vatican Information Service)


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