A fairly good article called U.N. loves the pope, and it shows starts off rather odd.
The Catholic Church may be declining in numbers in the United States, but it seems to have the broad and enthusiastic support of U.N. employees and affiliates.
Good thing they have editors to correct something like that … oh wait. Considering that the Catholic population in the U.S. has never declined and while there is a portion that leave the Church every year there is also a steady influx of new Church member via converts or immigration.
The Pope’s speech at the U.N. itself concentrated mainly on human rights in the true understanding of the term and covered a lot of ground. He addressed the false opposition between science and ethics, human dignity, rights of the person and the origin of rights, religious freedom, and the roles of countries in protecting these rights along with the role of the UN in this. These are some of the highlights from my own first reading.
…origin of the person, who remains the high-point of God’s creative design for the world and for history.
…The promotion of human rights remains the most effective strategy for eliminating inequalities between countries and social groups, and for increasing security.
…Experience shows that legality often prevails over justice when the insistence upon rights makes them appear as the exclusive result of legislative enactments or normative decisions taken by the various agencies of those in power. When presented purely in terms of legality, rights risk becoming weak propositions divorced from the ethical and rational dimension which is their foundation and their goal. The Universal Declaration, rather, has reinforced the conviction that respect for human rights is principally rooted in unchanging justice, on which the binding force of international proclamations is also based.
This aspect is often overlooked when the attempt is made to deprive rights of their true function in the name of a narrowly utilitarian perspective. Since rights and the resulting duties follow naturally from human interaction, it is easy to forget that they are the fruit of a commonly held sense of justice built primarily upon solidarity among the members of society, and hence valid at all times and for all peoples.
I found the above paragraph to be a perfect expression of how so many things have become rights while actual rights given to us by God are downplayed or eliminated. These modern rights are indeed seen as legalities that can be created by legislative bodies. The new view of rights is what is given to us by the Government instead of by God and the natural law is usurped via the vote.
The Pope calls the United Nations back to a proper understanding of the Universal Declaration and to stop efforts to reinterpret it according to special interests and away from protecting human dignity.
Most of the headlines have rightly seen the Pope’s speech in the context of human rights. I found this story laughably bad "Pope says unilateral acts undermine U.N. " with the starting focus being that this speech was directed at President Bush and the invasion of Iraq. This is the template the media wanted from the beginning for the Pope’s speech so it is no surprise that they would try to interpret it in that light.