(dpa) - Pope Benedict XVI gave Friday a resounding support to the international organization, drawing on similarities between the missions of the Catholic Church and the UN in their responsibility to protect and help people on Earth attain basic freedoms.
The real nature and depth of the German-born pope and leader of church dogma came forth in his lengthy address to the United Nations General Assembly, packed with representatives from 192 countries, urging the organization to realize its mission.
"My presence at this assembly is a sign of esteem for the United Nations, and it is intended to express the hope that the organization will increasingly serve as a sign of unity between states and an instrument of service to the entire human family," the pope said, speaking in French.
"It also demonstrates the willingness of the Catholic Church to offer her proper contribution to building international relations in a way that allows every person and every people to feel they can make a difference," he said.
Benedict said the Church can contribute her experience "of humanity" to the UN.
He said human rights must include the right to religious freedom as an expression of the individual and the community.
"The promotion of human rights remains the most effective strategy for eliminating inequalities between countries and social groups, and for increasing security," the pontiff said.
Benedict called for the full guarantee of religious freedom, which should not be limited to the exercise of worship, but to the full public dimension of religion that will allow the believers to play a role in society.
Benedict said the UN, ensconced in a small place in busy New York, has a worldwide mission to promote "peace and justice." He pointed out that the tiny Vatican City also has to exercise its "universal mission and apostolate."
"In the internal debates of the UN, increasing emphasis is being placed on the 'responsibilities to protect,'" the pope said. "Indeed this is coming to be recognized as the moral basis for a government's claim to authority."
"This organization performs an important service, in the name of the international community, by monitoring the extent to which governments fulfil their responsibility to protect their citizens," he said.