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Paul VI Sees the UN in Dante's Dream
of a Universal Government

On December 7, 1965, the same day Vatican II closed, Paul VI signed his Apostolic Letter Altissimi cantus in which he commemorates the 700th anniversary of Dante's birth. In the most important part of this document, Paul VI interprets Dante's dream of a universal government as a prediction of the UN.

Right, a copy of the electronic Italian text of Altissimi cantus. Below left, our translation of the Italian text highlighted in yellow.

The emperor is invested with the mission, above all a moral one, of making justice triumph and curbing greed, the cause of disorder and wars. Hence it follows that a universal monarchy seems necessary. This institution, expressed in medieval terms, demands a supra-national power to govern by a single law to safeguard peace and concord among peoples.

The divine poet's prediction [of this organization] is in no way a utopia, as it could appear to some, since it has found in our times a certain fulfillment in the United Nations Organization, whose extension and benefits tend to encompass the peoples of the whole world.

(Paul VI, Apostolic Letter Altissimi cantus in Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 1966, vol. 58, p. 31, eletronic version in Italian by Cristianita)

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Posted on April 19, 2008

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