A political theorist might object that the pope's ideas stray from the field of politics properly understood. But that's not how Benedict XVI sees it. He is convinced that societies, states, and the international community must rest on solid foundations. One of his intentions as pope is to preach a universal "grammar" founded on natural law, on the inviolable rights engraved on the conscience of every man, whatever his creed.
In his address to the United Nations on April 18, 2008, Benedict XVI emphasized part of this "grammar," "the principle of the responsibility to protect," meaning that "every state has the primary duty to protect its own population from grave and sustained violations of human rights." And he added that "If states are unable to guarantee such protection, the international community must intervene." But Pope Ratzinger did not stop there. He went to the foundation of this principle, without which the responsibility to protect would be at the mercy of conflicting interests. And he identified this ultimate foundation as the "the idea of the person as image of the Creator," with his innate "desire for the absolute and the essence of freedom."
Benedict XVI knows well that not everyone accepts this anchoring to transcendence. And it is rejected precisely by a culture that has its origin in the West. But he maintains that it is necessary to proclaim ceaselessly to world powers that "when God is eclipsed, our ability to recognize the natural order, purpose, and the 'good' begins to wane." Pope Ratzinger maintains that the "secular" formula proposed by Grotius on the basis of the coexistence of peoples is outdated: to live "etsi Deus non daretur," as if God did not exist. He proposes to all, including those who do not accept transcendence, the opposite wager: that of acting "etsi Deus daretur," as if God does exist. Because it is only in this way that the dignity of the person finds an unshakable foundation.
Magister also notes that the Holy Father's esteem for the United States derives from her founding principles which pay homage to the natural law. It is interesting that Holy Father speaks with more clarity regarding the foundation of our Republic than do our own politicians.