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Flashback: a different sort of papal address to the UN

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Sep 26, 2015

Almost exactly twenty years have passed since St. John Paul II addressed the UN on October 5, 1995. His message then contrasted vividly with the one delivered this week by Pope Francis, and the difference is not only a matter of calendar references. Notice this paragraph:

As a Christian, my hope and trust are centered on Jesus Christ, the two thousandth anniversary of whose birth will be celebrated at the coming of the new millennium. We Christians believe that in his Death and Resurrection were fully revealed God's love and his care for all creation. Jesus Christ is for us God made man, and made a part of the history of humanity. Precisely for this reason, Christian hope for the world and its future extends to every human person. Because of the radiant humanity of Christ, nothing genuinely human fails to touch the hearts of Christians. Faith in Christ does not impel us to intolerance. On the contrary, it obliges us to engage others in a respectful dialogue. Love of Christ does not distract us from interest in others, but rather invites us to responsibility for them, to the exclusion of no one and indeed, if anything, with a special concern for the weakest and the suffering. Thus, as we approach the two thousandth anniversary of the birth of Christ, the Church asks only to be able to propose respectfully this message of salvation, and to be able to promote, in charity and service, the solidarity of the entire human family.

If anyone was surprised—let alone offended—by the Pope's references to Jesus Christ, I can't find their complaints in the historical record. He's the Pope, for Peter's sake. What did you expect him to talk about? Climate change?

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: koinonia - Sep. 26, 2015 4:24 PM ET USA

    For decades there have been Catholics "on the periphery" who have been ostracized for sounding the alarm of logical consequences. The SSPX has been remarkably silent of late. Coincidentally, in their absence today we are hearing things once unutterable from authors loathe to utter them. Iconic Che Guevara looking down on a papal Mass, hammer and sickle crucifix accepted- no offense taken, Jesus Christ not proclaimed on the grand stage. Confidence is challenged for some; others are enamored.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Sep. 26, 2015 2:08 PM ET USA

    Zap! You said it!