VATICAN CITY, July 7 – Pope Benedict XVI called on Tuesday for a new world body "with real teeth" to restore the global economy and prevent further disparities in a letter to Roman Catholics worldwide.
"There is a strongly felt need… for a reform of the United Nations Organisation, and likewise of economic institutions and international finance, so that the concept of the family of nations can acquire real teeth," the pope wrote in the third encyclical of his papacy.
"To manage the global economy, to revive economies hit by the crisis, to avoid any deterioration of the present crisis and the greater imbalances that would result … there is urgent need of a true world political authority," he wrote in the 150-page text.
"Caritas in Veritate" (Charity in Truth) is the pope\’s first encyclical on social issues following two others on spiritual questions.
In the letter, intended as guidance for Catholics, the pope added that such a body should also work "to bring about integral and timely disarmament, food security and peace, to guarantee the protection of the environment and to regulate migration."
It "would need to be regulated by law, to observe consistently the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity (and) to seek to establish the common good," wrote the 82-year-old head of the world\’s 1.1 billion Catholics.
"Furthermore, such an authority would need to be universally recognised and to be vested with the effective power to ensure security for all, regard for justice, and respect for rights," said the letter.
Benedict warned that globalisation risked further impoverishing poor countries, but said it could be used to the world\’s benefit if managed properly.
"The processes of globalization, suitably understood and directed, open up the unprecedented possibility of large-scale redistribution of wealth on a world-wide scale," he wrote.
"If badly directed, however, they can lead to an increase in poverty and inequality, and could even trigger a global crisis."
The pope said "the worldwide diffusion of forms of prosperity should not therefore be held up by projects that are self-centred, protectionist or at the service of private interests.
"Indeed the involvement of emerging or developing countries allows us to manage the crisis better today."
He also called for greater protection of the environment — a subject he has frequently addressed — and said the world should manage its energy resources better.
"The fact that some states, power groups and companies hoard non-renewable energy resources represents a grave obstacle to development in poor countries," the letter said.
"Those countries lack the economic means either to gain access to existing sources of non-renewable energy or to finance research into new alternatives."
Benedict said "the international community has an urgent duty to find institutional means of regulating the exploitation of non-renewable resources, involving poor countries in the process…"