The Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations was officially established on April 6, 1964 and has since then taken an active role toward the advancement of peace and justice in the international community, through sharing with the nations the social teachings of the Catholic Church. Increasing interest in the works of the Papal Mission at the United Nations underlined the need to spread greater awareness of the teachings of the Holy Father on important international questions of ethics, development and human rights, in order to provoke discussion and formulate humanitarian action.
Due to the need for expanded humanitarian and peacemaking activities that go beyond the strictly diplomatic parameters of the Holy See Mission to the United Nations, The Path to Peace Foundation was established in 1991, by Cardinal Renato R. Martino, then Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations. The Foundation, legally independent from but integrally united to the Holy See Mission, tax-exempt under Section 501c3 of the IRS Code, directs its activities primarily to the international stage of the United Nations. Its principal purpose is to support the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See at the United Nations and to spread the message of peace by which the Catholic Church, through the words and activities of the Pope and of the Holy See, strives to “guide our steps into the path of peace” (Lk 1:79).
The mission of the Foundation is to disseminate information and documentation on statements and initiatives of the Holy Father, the Holy See and Catholic organizations directed toward building a world of justice, charity and peace; to host conferences, seminars and lectures to study the social teachings of the Church in action; to promote cultural initiatives touching on Christian heritage in art, music and the humanities; and to foster religious and humanitarian projects with a view to promoting fundamental human rights by calling attention to specific emergency needs that arise in different parts of the world.