Filipino archbishop is the Pope’s main man in New York

/ 01:09 AM September 25, 2015
Aech Auza

His Excellency, the Most Reverend Bernardito Auza, titular archbishop of Suacia, apostolic nuncio, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and to the Organization of American States, gives a briefing on the arrival of Pope Francis to the U.S. PHOTO BY CAROL TANJUTCO

NEW YORK CITY — One of the Vatican’s roles that has not always been made public is its mediation of international conflicts, disclosed the Most Reverend Bernardito Auza, papal nuncio and permanent observer of the Vatican to the United Nations.

Archbishop Auza, a Filipino ordained priest for the Diocese of Tagbilaran in 1985, will speak for Pope Francis during his upcoming visit to New York.


Auza rose to become the secretary of state in the Vatican; he was also appointed permanent observer of the Holy See to the Organization of American States in 2014.

His full title is Titular Archbishop of Suacia, Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and to the Organization of American States.

Auza framed his six-year stint at the Secretariat of State in the Vatican within the almost 2,000 years of Church diplomacy.

In the treaty of Tordesillas, for instance, Pope Alexander VI, one of the most controversial Renaissance popes, mediated the conflict between Portugal and Spain and decided to divide the world between the two by creating demarcation lines. (In passing, Archbishop Auza mentioned the circumnavigation of the world by Ferdinand Magellan, who sailed to the Philippines where he was killed in 1521, from the Atlantic to the Pacific and around from the Indian Ocean.)

In the modern times, the Holy See has been even more active in peacemaking, such as its mediation towards the normalization of ties between the United States and Cuba.

Auza said he received so many requests for mediation at the Vatican. The Pope uses not only the formal diplomatic channel of the Holy See, but he also uses a lot of local actors as keys to gaining the respect and confidence of the requesting country. Auza emphasized the fundamental recommendation of the peacekeeping mission of United Nations to use local actors in preventing a lull or bubble in building peace.

Addressing several media inquiries about the visit of Pope Francis, announcing that the flag of the Holy See would be raised at the UN Headquarters for the first time..

In the morning of September 25, the United Nations will raise the flag of the Holy See with no ceremony, at the same time the UN will raise the other flags that day. The flag of the Holy See has two vertical bands, one gold and one white. The white side features an image of two traversed keys, one gold and one silver, bound together by a red cord, and topped by a triple-crown or tiara crowned by a cross. The keys (Mt 16:19) and tiara are both traditional symbols of the papacy. It has been the official flag of the Holy See since 1929.

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TAGS: Holy See, Most Reverend Bernardito Auz, papal nuncio New York, Pope as mediator in international conflicts, Pope Francis visit to NY, Vatican Permanent Oberserver UN
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