The mood at the monthlong talks being held in New York is somber. Few expect breakthroughs, and without a breakthrough, serious disarmament is in doubt.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the announcement that Pope Francis would visit the United Nations the morning of Sept. 25 to address the U.N. General Assembly.
In a statement Wednesday, the United Nations also said the pope would meet separately with the secretary-general and with the president of the General Assembly and would participate in a town hall gathering with U.N. staff.
With the death of noted Irish Catholic writer Desmond Fisher, the legion of writers that covered the Second Vatican Council has thinned considerably.
Controversy over family issues and the ongoing serach for peace in the Middle East were just some highlights of Vatican news in 2014.
Pope Francis called on world leaders, activists and people of faith to pull together to rid the world of the threat of nuclear weapons.
Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's permanent representative to U.N. agencies in Geneva, read the pope's statement Monday in Vienna at the opening of Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons.
In his message, Pope Francis restated the Vatican's long-standing advocacy for the global elimination of nuclear weapons and said peace is not just a balance of power, "but true justice."
A new political and business mentality "that does not exclude but transcends profit" is both necessary and possible, a Vatican official told a United Nations meeting.
Millions of the world's children today are victims of armed conflict, pornography and sexual trafficking, and still more "are denied the most fundamental right to life," said the Vatican's nuncio to the United Nations.
"Prenatal selection eliminates babies suspected to have disabilities and female children simply because of their sex," Archbishop Berardito Auza said Oct. 17 in a statement to the U.N. Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee, which was discussing the rights of children.
He is the Vatican's permanent representative at the U.N. in New York.
The United Nations' framework provides the "only viable way" of dealing with the global nature of modern terrorism "which knows no borders," the Vatican's secretary of state told the U.N. General Assembly on Monday.
"This reality requires a renewed United Nations that undertakes to foster and preserve peace," said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, emphasizing that recent terrorist activity is "criminal behavior that is not envisaged by the juridical configuration of the United Nations charter."
The Vatican formally criticized a U.N. committee's "grave misunderstanding" of state sovereignty and reiterated its concerns over "controversial new expressions" that threaten the unborn and religious freedom.
By insisting the Holy See should enforce the compliance of Catholics all over the world with international treaties signed by the Vatican, the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child "offers a controversial new approach to 'jurisdiction,' which clearly contradicts the general understanding of this concept of international law."
Addressing the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, the Vatican's secretary of state said "terrorism represents a fundamental threat to our common humanity" and its escalation requires the response of a "shared commitment" from all nations.
"Nations must come together in order to fulfill our primary responsibility to protect people threatened by violence and direct assaults on their human dignity," Cardinal Pietro Parolin said.