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No. 41 • July - December 2005 • Page 326
 •  Initiatives

Paris -- A conference at the Garnelles Cultural Center

On Thursday, October 27, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran gave a conference on the controversial question “Does the Holy See have political power?”

Before an audience of a hundred, mostly young people, Cardinal Tauran, who until a few years ago was in charge of relations between the Holy See and other states, unraveled the various questions implicit in the title of his talk. He considered the meaning of political power, the application to international law of the adage pacta sunt servanda, “treaties must be observed,” the proper balance of nations in international organisms as a necessary means for the maintenance of a lasting peace, the definition of a just war, the question of disarmament, respect for human rights, etc. His conclusion was that the Holy See is not a state like others: it is a “fellow traveler,” “the voice that mankind’s conscience hopes for, which seeks not to conquer but to convince.” It can only be considered a power if, with Pascal, one affirms that “the role of power is to protect.”

During the question and answer session there was time to consider the Christian roots of Europe, democracy as a form of government, and the situation of Christians in countries undergoing conflict. There were also many references to Pope Benedict XVI. Referring to what a woman in Rome had told him, Cardinal Tauran said: “our new Pope is extraordinary; he says very profound things and people can understand everything he says.”

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