Pope recommends the UN make dental arrangements

I’m not exactly sure what to make of the Pope’s call for a “toothier” UN.  Here are the relevant grafs in his “encyclical,” which comes somewhere between an S-G statement and the papal version of a Security Council resolution, I suppose.

In the face of the unrelenting growth of global interdependence, there is a strongly felt need, even in the midst of a global recession, for a reform of the United Nations Organization, and likewise of economic institutions and international finance, so that the concept of the family of nations can acquire real teeth.


The integral development of peoples and international cooperation require the establishment of a greater degree of international ordering, marked by subsidiarity, for the management of globalization. They also require the construction of a social order that at last conforms to the moral order, to the interconnection between moral and social spheres, and to the link between politics and the economic and civil spheres, as envisaged by the Charter of the United Nations.

I think everyone can agree that the UN needs reform, and that giving poorer countries a greater voice should be an eminent concern.  I’m not sure what he means by “family of nations;” secularly, this naturally just refers to what we often call the “international community.”  I’ll assume this is the intended effect, and that other, culture-laden issues of “family” are not implied here.

Greater “international ordering” is similarly welcomed; the encyclical seems to get that, as we say, global problems require global solutions.  But I’m less keen on involving the UN in constructing a “moral order.”  Contrary to what the encyclical claims, the term “moral” does not even make an appearance in the UN Charter, likely for the very reason that morals can be subjective, and that freedom of religion — which the Charter does uphold — precludes favoring any particular religion’s “moral order” over another.