Address of Pope Francis to the UN General Assembly

Webcast from the UN or  Watch and Read  CBS News New York

Pope Francis arrives to speak at the UN General Assembly on September 25, 2015 at the United Nations in New York. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Francis arrives to speak at the UN General Assembly on September 25, 2015 at the United Nations in New York. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

I want to share a few highlights from the text.  I do this in the light of the issues outlined in  our congregational direction statement.  I quote

“We felt the movement of the Spirit impelling us to respond with even greater urgency to the cry of our wounded world.

As mission partners (lay and sisters), we struggled to find a way to address global issues.  We identified the most pressing needs of today as poverty, human trafficking, forced migration, refugees, gender inequality, violence towards women and children and religious intolerance.  In our dialogue, our charism and internationality united us in a profound way.

We explored with fresh enthusiasm spirituality which nourishes our relationship with God and challenges us to:

  • See and hear the good news of Jesus through the eyes and ears of those who are oppressed and calling us to respond in radically new ways;
  • To recognize our inter-connectedness with the whole of creation which obliges us to “protect our common home”. (Laudato Si)”

Pope Francis in his person, his words and actions is responding to the cry of our wounded world.  He is a ‘person centered’ inclusive Pope making contact with people whenever possible, serving lunch to people who are homeless,  visiting in neighborhoods experiencing marginalization and poverty, visiting prisoners and having his car stopped to personally greet, embrace, and pray with persons differently abled.  His actions – carrying his own bag, driving in a small fiat car, getting up from his chair, and going down steps to greet people are all symbolic actions giving witness to his words and the dignity of the person.

His words are strong as to the causes of woundedness in the world – “unrestrained ambition and collective forms of selfishness” that threatens the planet and excludes more and more people.  Pope Francis did recognize the achievements of the United Nations over the past seventy years “as lights which dispel the darkness”.  He called for reform of the Security Council, and the Financial Agencies so that all member states have “a genuine and equitable influence on, decision making processes”.  Pope Francis urged International Financial Agencies to care for the sustainable development of countries and to ensure that countries are not subjected to oppressive lending systems which subject people to greater poverty, exclusion and dependence.  The issues of debt and usury are systemic issues.   Jubliee, USA continually address them.  Read more here

Pope Francis said that a true “right of the environment” exists. Further, misuse and destruction of the environment are accompanied by a relentless process of exclusion. I was reminded of our ministry in Kolwezi, in the DRC.  Pope Francis continued that a selfish and boundless thirst for power and material prosperity leads both to the misuse of available natural resources and to the exclusion of the weak and disadvantaged.   This can happen for a number of reasons

  • because they are differently abled, or
  • because they lack adequate information and technical expertise, or
  • because they are incapable of decisive political action.

Economic and social exclusion is a complete denial of ‘human dignity’ (my words) and an offense against human rights and the environment.  The poorest are those who suffer most from offenses, for three serious reasons:

  • they are cast off by society,
  • forced to live off what is discarded and
  • suffer unjustly from the abuses of the environments.

They are part of today’s widespread and quietly growing “culture of waste”.   This is in stark contrast to our oft quoted phrase “a person is of more value than the world” that informs all our ministry and activism throughout the world.

Pope Francis said that our world demands of all government leaders

  • a will which is effective, practical and constant,
  • concrete steps and immediate measures for preserving and improving the natural environment and
  • and ending as quickly as possible social and economic exclusion, with its consequences;
    • human trafficking,
    • the marketing of human organs and tissues,
    • the sexual exploitation of boys and girls,
    • slave labour, including
    • prostitution,
    • the drug and weapons trade,
    • terrorism and
    • international organized crime.

This list has echoes of the list in the Congregational Direction Statement.  While Pope Francis did not mention gender inequality and violence against women and children it is implied throughout and the specific violence of sexual exploitation of boys and girls, slave labour, prostitution, drugs and weapons trade, terrorism and international organized crime all impact, wound and enslave girls and women.

Pope Francis while often using the words poor or poorest  reiterated at least on two occasions that it must never be forgotten … we are dealing with real men and women who live, struggle and suffer, and are often forced to live in great poverty, deprived of all rights. And for the phrase at the end of the next sentence – this is a gem.  ‘To enable these real men and women to escape from extreme poverty, we must allow them to be dignified agents of their own destiny.’  Imagine girls and women ‘dignified agents of their own destiny’.   I am immediately brought to the words of Philip Pinto and recorded in our direction statement “Transformational leadership is a way of being leaders arising out of the depths of the wisdom within each of us, a wisdom that allows others the space and opportunity to transform their own lives. The only leadership that is worth the name is spiritual leadership”.

I was thrilled when Pope Francis named girls when he referring to the right to education as a way of becoming ‘a dignified agent of one’s own destiny’.  Pope Francis named the absolute minimum needed to live in dignity – lodgings, labour, land and spiritual freedom which includes religious freedom, the right to education and other civil rights.  This absolute minimum has another name Social Protection Floors which Good Shepherds has been promoting over the past few years.  Establishing national floors of social protection ensures a minimum standard of living of all people.

Pope Francis reiterated the minimum standards

  • housing
  • dignified and properly remunerated employment
  • adequate food and drinking water
  • religious freedom – spiritual freedom and education

These pillars of integral human development have a common foundation, which is the right to life!

Pope Francis quoted from Laudato Si in referring to the ecological crisis.   He issued a sort of warning to Member States quoting from the Charter of the United Nation  that the ideal of “saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war” and “promoting social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom” risks becoming an unattainable illusion, or idle chatter which serves as a cover for all kinds of abuse and corruption.

Pope Francis continued to make connections between people and planet saying “war is the negation of all rights and a dramatic assault on the environment”.  He called member states to uphold the rule of law and to have recourse to tireless negotiation, mediation and arbitration.  This is a call to us Good Shepherds to engage in advocacy at national level, seeking implementation of international standards and reporting where we can e.g. Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Universal Periodic Review (UPR), Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and, other human right mechanism on implementation or lack thereof.

Pope Francis confronted directly the proliferation of arms, especially weapons of mass destruction as opposed to the Charter of the United Nations which desires peace, seeks solutions to disputes and the development of friendly relations between nations.  Pope Francis called for the full application of the non-proliferation Treaty, in letter and spirit, with the goal of a complete prohibition of these weapons.

Pope Francis addressed the situation in the Middle East and North Africa noting “the negative effects of military and political interventions which are not coordinated between members of the international community”.  Pope Francis mentioned specifically Christians, “together with other cultural and ethnic groups and even members of the majority religion who have no desire to be caught up in  hatred and folly, and have been forced to witness the destruction of their places of worship, their cultural and religious heritage, their houses and property, and have faced the alternative either of fleeing or of paying for their adhesion to good and peace by their own lives, or enslavement.”

Again for the third time Pope Francis uses the word ‘real’ when he says that real human being take precedence over partisan interests. In wars and conflicts it is individual persons, our brothers and sisters, men and women, young and old, boys and girls, who weep, suffer and die.

At our Congregational Chapter we made a declaration in solidarity with our Sisters and Mission Partners in Lebanon and Syria which calls on our respective Governments (74 countries) is to:

  • Stop selling arms to warring faction
  • Let go of self interest in the Middle East
  • Stop the terrorists groups from entering Syria through the Turkey/Jordan/Iraq borders
  • Enter into peaceful dialogue for resolution

The words of Pope Francis’s address to the United Nations are embedded in our simple yet direct demands to our respective Governments.  Pope Francis ended his address saying that the United Nations can be a pledge of a secure and happy future for future generations if the representatives of the States can set aside partisan and ideological interests and sincerely strive to serve the common good.






September 21, 2015 International Day of Peace: PEACE BE WITH YOU!


The United Nations invites all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities during the Day, and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.

“I call on all warring parties to lay down their weapons and observe a global ceasefire. To them I say: stop the killings and the destruction, and create space for lasting peace.”     UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Read the full message of the Secretary General

United Nations Peace Bell Ceremony will take place on Monday from 9.00 – 9.30 in the Japanese Garden.  I will be present remembering you all -Sister and Mission Partners and all with whom we colaborte

Goal 16 and it 10 targets of the to be adopted at the UN Summit September 25-27 is as follows

Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
16.1 Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere
16.2 End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children
16.3 Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all
16.4 By 2030, significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organized crime
16.5 Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms
16.6 Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels
16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels
16.8 Broaden and strengthen the participation of developing countries in the institutions of global governance
16.9 By 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration
16.10 Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements
16.a Strengthen relevant national institutions, including through international cooperation, for building capacity at all levels, in particular in developing countries, to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime
16.b Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development

The goal and 16 targets are outline.  We are currently awaiting the indicators and with regard of means of implementation it begins with the call of the Secretary General as quoted above and cost nothing – lay down weapons – observe a global ceasefire.

Read from this link about target 16.4    “…in seven of the last ten years the global volume of IFFs was greater than the combined value of all Official Development Assistance and Foreign Direct Investment flowing into poor nations. In response, the UN has included target 16.4 in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which commits Member States to “significantly reduce” IFFs by 2030.”

Paragraph 82 of Pope Francis’s Encyclical  “Yet it would also be mistaken to view other living beings as mere objects subjected to arbitrary human domination. When nature is viewed solely as a source of profit and gain, this has serious consequences for society. This vision of “might is right” has engendered immense inequality, injustice and acts of violence against the majority of humanity, since resources end up in the hands of the first comer or the most powerful: the winner takes all. Completely at odds with this model are the ideals of harmony, justice, fraternity and peace as proposed by Jesus. As he said of the powers of his own age: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant” (Mt 20:25-26).”


Expressing dismay over the choice of keynote speaker representing CSO’s during 25 September opening plenary UN Sustainable Development Summit

My organization together with 28 others have expressed dismay over the choice of keynote speaker representing CSO’s during 25 September UN Sustainable Development Summit.  See full list of Speakers  We addressed a letter to the President of the General Assembly 69th Session, H.E. Mr. Sam Kutessa with copies to UN NGLS and UN DESA, civil society section.  Copy of signed letter


“It is with a sense of dismay that we read that Mr. Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International is selected as the keynote speaker during the 25th September opening plenary of the UN Sustainable Development Summit 2015 on behalf of CSOs. The dismay results from the recent controversy over the adoption on August 11, 2015 of a resolution recommending that Amnesty International develop a policy that supports the full decriminalization of all aspects of prostitution or what Amnesty International calls “sex work.”

While we welcome the decriminalization of all women engaged in prostitution and the protection of their human rights, we note that this resolution fosters the decriminalization of the ‘commercial sex industry’ that includes pimps, brothel owners and buyers of sex, who are the main perpetrators of violence and abuse against those in prostitution. Prostitution is not ‘decent work’ and is rather a denial of the dignity and worth of every woman and girl. Prostitution is a continuation of a patriarchal system, a form of slavery, and violence against women. The existence of the ‘sex industry’ is one of the root causes of human trafficking for sexual exploitation.   Amnesty International’s proposed framework to decriminalize pimps, brothel owners and buyers of sex is in direct violation of the 1949 Convention on the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others, CEDAW, the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It is regrettable that your selection of Mr. Salil Shetty as the keynote speaker was made at this time. During the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Abba (July 2015) CSOs were expressing concern about the strong tendency towards the instrumentalization and commodification of women in the economy and the market place. This Resolution proposed by Amnesty International is in direct opposition to the United Nations aspiration to leave no woman or girl behind in our collective quest to achieve gender equality. Amnesty International’s resolution in effect is endorsing male demand for ‘sex’ and ensuring the availability of a supply of women framing the argument within a distorted Human Rights Framework.”

After sending the letter to the President of the General Assembly there have been six more signatures: .

  1. The Women’s Front of Norway, ECOSOC Status
  2. Ruhama, Ireland  – Sarah Benson CEO
  3. Dr. Oranna Keller-Mannschreck,
  4. Anna Fisher
  5. RadFem Collective
  6. Davis Wendy,



Goals for Sustainable Development

The United Nations summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda will be held from 25 to 27 September 2015, in New York and convened as a high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly.  Pope Francis will address the General Assembly on the morning of the 25th of September.  What will he say?  Summit September 2015

Have you been following the development and evolution of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals over the past 3 years?  What are the 17 Goals?


The link to ‘Transforming Our World:the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ is HERE  The document is in all 6 languages of the United Nations.  It is a 35 page document providing the framework for the next 15 years.   A chart with the list of the goals can be found on page 14. Under each goal there are a number of targets – 169 in all.  (See pages 14 to 28).  What else is contained in the document?

Page 2 to top of page 3:  A preamble – People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, Partnership.

“The interlinkages and integrated nature of the Sustainable Development Goals are of crucial importance in ensuring that the purpose of the new Agenda is realized. If we realize our ambitions across the full extent of the Agenda, the lives of all will be profoundly improved and our world will be transformed for the better.”

  • Page 3 Declaration:  Paragraphs 1 – 6  Introduction;
  • Page 4 Paragraphs 7 – 9  Vision; Paragraphs 10-13 Our shared principles and commitments;
  • Page 5 Paragraphs 14 – 17 Our world today;
  • Page 6 Paragraphs 18 – 38 The new Agenda;
  • Page 10 Paragraphs 39 – 46 Means of Implementation;
  • Page 12 Paragraphs 47 and 48 Follow up and Review; Paragraphs 49 – 53 A Call for action to change our world;
  • Page 13 Paragraphs 54 – 59 Sustainable Development goals and targets;
  • Page 28 Paragraph 60 – 71 Means of implementation of the Global Partnership;
  • Page 32 Paragraphs 72 – 91 Follow up and review.

What can you do?  I have copied paragraphs 78 and 79 because they make specific reference to the National Level. The bold print is mine.

78. We encourage all Member States to develop as soon as practicable ambitious national responses to the overall implementation of this Agenda. These can support the transition to the Sustainable Development Goals and build on existing planning instruments, such as national development and sustainable development strategies, as appropriate.

79. We also encourage Member States to conduct regular and inclusive reviews of progress at the national and sub-national levels which are country-led and countrydriven. Such reviews should draw on contributions from indigenous peoples, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders, in line with national circumstances, policies and priorities. National parliaments as well as other institutions can also support these processes.

Over the next few weeks follow the local news on the adoption this new global agenda.  Is your Head of State attending the UN Sustainable Development Summit?  Tune in to the UN Web TV and hear the commitment made by your Head of State.  How will this commitment translate at your national and local level?

Are you reading Laudato Si – Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment and human ecology? How does it compare with the Sustainable Development Goals?


Inviting you to review the YouTube and respond. What do you think?

Kosmos Journal a print and online journal for transformational thinking, policy, aesthetic beauty and collective wisdom has a Facebook page.  You can access it HERE   A recent post asks ‘If the Sustainable Development goals are based on growth economics will they work?’  The posted YouTube asks some reflective questions.  The video clip is entitled   Inviting you to share your thoughts.

October 17th is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.  The theme of the day is ‘Building a sustainable future: Coming together to end poverty and discrimination’.  The 2 page concept note for the day can be read HERE

A quote from the concept note  ‘The economic and social policies, strategies and priorities adopted during the last decades that have contributed to environmental degradation, unsustainable growth, unparalleled inequalities and social injustice must be changed or abandoned. We must distinguish between activities that should be nurtured because they meet the basic needs of all citizens and are sustainable, and those activities that must be discouraged because they only meet gratuitous needs or are not sustainable. In particular, Governments must ensure that those in extreme poverty are no longer compelled to work at the lowest wages and/or in the most difficult conditions, where there is neither job security nor social protection.’