The United Nations Explained: Its Purpose, Power and Problems

Nearly everybody has heard of the United Nations. But how many know what it actually does? Or how it works? Or why, as world leaders gather for the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, the institution has struggled to live up to the promise of its founders: making the world a better, more peaceful place?

The United Nations Charter was signed at a conference in San Francisco in June 1945, led by four countries: Britain, China, the Soviet Union and the United States.

When the Charter went into effect on Oct. 24 of that year, a global war had just ended. Much of Africa and Asia was still ruled by colonial powers.

After fierce negotiations, 50 nations agreed to a Charter that begins, “We the peoples of the United Nations.”

Why is that opening line notable? Because today, the United Nations can, to some, seem to serve the narrow national interests of its 193 member countries — especially the most powerful ones — and not ordinary citizens.

These parochial priorities can stand in the way of fulfilling the first two pledges of the Charter: to end “the scourge of war” and to regain “faith in fundamental human rights.”

In 1948, the United Nations proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These include the right to not be enslaved, the right to free expression, and the right to seek from other countries asylum from persecution.

However, many of the rights expressed — to education, to equal pay for equal work, to nationality — remain unrealized.

Each fall, the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly becomes the stage where presidents and prime ministers give speeches that can be soaring or clichéd — or they can deliver long, incoherent tirades, such as the one given by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the Libyan strongman, in 2009. In 2017, President Trump threatened acts of aggression against rival nations, vowing to “totally destroy” North Korea if it threatened the United States or its allies.

The event offers plenty of star power, but critics contend that it is little more than a glorified gabfest.

For the rest of the session, the General Assembly is the arena where largely symbolic diplomatic jousts are won and lost. Hundreds of resolutions are introduced annually. While some of them earn a great deal of attention — like one in 1975 that equated Zionism with racism — they are not legally binding. (The Assembly is responsible for making some budgetary decisions.)

In principle, nations small and large, rich and poor, have equal voice in the Assembly, with each country getting one vote. But the genuine power resides elsewhere.

The 15-member Security Council is by far the most powerful arm of the United Nations. It can impose sanctions, as it did against Iran over its nuclear program, and authorize military intervention, as it did against Libya in 2011.

Critics say it is also the most anachronistic part of the organization. Its five permanent members are the victors of World War II: Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States. The other 10 members are elected for two-year terms, with seats set aside for different regions of the world.

Efforts to expand the permanent membership of the Council to include powers that have emerged since 1945 — such as India, Japan and Germany — have been stymied. For every country that vies for a seat, rivals seek to block it.

Any member of the permanent five — or the P5, for short — can veto any measure, and each has regularly used this power to protect either itself or allies. Since 1990, the United States has cast a veto on Council resolutions 18 times, many concerning Israeli-Palestinian relations. Russia has done so 22 times in that period.

The Charter does allow the General Assembly to act if, because of a veto, international peace and security are threatened. But in reality, that is rarely done.

The Security Council’s job is to maintain international peace. Its ability to do so has been severely constrained in recent years, in large part because of bitter divisions between Russia and the West.

The Council has been feckless in the face of major conflicts, particularly those in which permanent members have a stake.

Most recently, its starkest failure has been the handling of the seven-year conflict in Syria, with Russia backing the government of President Bashar al-Assad, and the United States, Britain and France supporting some opposition groups. The Security Council has failed to take decisive action on Syria, despite reports of countless war crimes.

It also failed to halt the fighting in Yemen, despite a disastrous humanitarian situation, including a cholera outbreak, and reports from its own investigators of war crimes on both sides. Last year, the Council was confronted with wide-scale atrocities against the Rohingya ethnic group in Myanmar, but has done little in response.

North Korea, an ally of China, has also consistently defied the United Nations, ignoring prohibitions against its nuclear program and missile tests. And the global body has had little sway in the seesawing diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang, which has swung from threats of military strikes to the groundbreaking meeting in June between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, the North’s leader.

The Charter is vague in defining the duties of the secretary general, the United Nations’ top official. He or she is expected to show no favoritism to any particular country, but the office is largely dependent on the funding and the good will of the most powerful nations.

The Security Council — notably the P5 — chooses the secretary general, by secret ballot, to serve a maximum of two five-year terms. This process makes it difficult for the role to be independent of the P5’s influence.

The secretary general has no army to deploy, but what the position does enjoy is a bully pulpit. If the officeholder is perceived as being independent, he or she is often the only person in the world who can call warring parties to the peace table.

The current secretary general, António Guterres, a Portuguese politician, took the reins last year. He was the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015.

The actions of his predecessor, Ban Ki-moon of South Korea, repeatedly displayed the limits of the office’s authority during his 10-year tenure. For example, Mr. Ban was persuaded for two years in a row to keep powerful countries off a list of those whose military forces had killed and maimed children.

Since 1946, nine people have held the position of secretary general. All have been men.

When Mr. Guterres took on the role of secretary general, he inherited a body facing the unenviable task of demonstrating the United Nations’ relevance in a world confronting challenges that were inconceivable 73 years ago.

Here are some of the questions that will determine whether the organization’s influence diminishes or grows:

■ Can the Security Council take action against countries that flout international humanitarian law? And can the P5 countries look beyond their own narrow interests and rivalries to find ways to end the “scourge of war”?

■ Can peacekeeping operations be repaired so that the protection of civilians is ensured?

■ Can the United Nations persuade countries to come up with ways to handle the new reality of mass migration?

■ Can the secretary general persuade countries to keep their promise to curb carbon emissions — and to help those suffering from the consequences of climate change?

■ Can the United Nations get closer to achieving its founding mandate, to make the world a better, more peaceful place?

An earlier version of this article first ran on Sept. 16, 2016.

How Virtual Reality is Making Home Buying Easier Than Ever

If you’ve ever gone househunting, you know how draining it can be. While staged homes are beautiful, it’s nearly impossible to imagine how the same space would come together with the addition of your personal touch. The end product can be hard to imagine, but thanks to advancements in augmented and virtual reality, the property buying experience is being redefined.


These developments have revolutionized how creative digital agencies and partnering companies develop apps that allow users to virtually visit property listings from anywhere in the world. And that’s only the beginning of what AR and VR can and will do for the real estate business. For example, integrating voice recognition technology into the experience can allow users to visit a virtual listing in entirely new ways. Here are a few other ways AR and VR are impacting this industry.


Viewings on Your Own Time


Home buying used to be an exhausting process that could take weeks. If you had a busy schedule, it could be nearly impossible to schedule property tours, and some days could involve driving around all day just to see a handful of listings. Online searches could be just as problematic; it’s hard to get a real feel for a space if you can only view it in 2D on your computer.


Thanks to new breakthroughs in AR and VR, programs now exist that allow the user to ‘visit’ the potential spaces in 3D. Apps like matterport include listings that are recorded in 3D, giving an accurate feel of both the space and flow of the space.


Soon, you will be able to connect your phone to a VR headset and do a ‘walk through’ of the property from wherever you are. This will save time and energy for the buyer, allowing them to visit many more properties than if they were going to in-person open houses.


Imagine the Finished Space


Picturing yourself in a new location is difficult, especially when you’re unable to envision all of the different possibilities. This is even more relevant with spaces that are in the process of being built, or are in desperate need of repairs.


With the help of VR technology, buyers can better visualize the anticipated end product. Not only that, but also these new apps can also help determine the cost of these changes. This can be a total game changer for someone who’s unsure about their purchase and needs just one more push in the right direction.


The real estate industry has also developed technology that allows clients to upload photos of a space and add home furnishings from an existing digital catalogue. If you happen to have a VR headset, you’re in luck: apps even exist that allow you to perform walkthroughs of the rooms so you can decide how best to decorate your new space.


The Future of Property Buying


One of the most exciting developments of this new technology is that it allows a customer to view a property in any location, from anywhere. For someone moving to a new city that isn’t able to visit beforehand, these new VR tools could prove invaluable. Additionally, changes could be made on virtually designed spaces, cutting down on the need for time-consuming physical rebuilds.


As for the future of these VR tools, there will only be more opportunities to streamline the industry. Things like home inspection and selection could happen completely virtually, expediting property purchases and consolidating the entire real estate industry. As AR and VR become more accessible and commonplace, a whole new world of opportunity will open for potential buyers.


Submitted by Catherine Metcalf ([email protected])

Typhoon Mangkhut: At Least 43 Bodies Found in Philippines Landslide

Emergency workers in the Philippines recovered 43 bodies from the muddied wreckage of a gold miners’ bunkhouse after Typhoon Mangkhut set off a landslide, burying the remote northern town of Itogon in a river of debris and potentially doubling the country’s death toll, officials said on Monday.

Mangkhut, a super typhoon that slammed into the northern Philippine province of Luzon on Saturday, continued a path of destruction across southern China on Sunday and into Monday.

Officials feared the death toll could surpass 100 in the Philippines, and at least four people were killed in China as of Monday, according to the state news media.

The whir of choppers and the buzz of chain saws were all that was heard on Monday near the mining town of Itogon as workers looking for bodies dug through the mud using shovels and their bare hands — the ground too wet for heavy machinery.

Francis Tolentino, a senior adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte, estimated that nationwide 5.7 million people had been affected by the storm, which hit the country at the height of its powers, with wind speeds topping 150 miles per hour.

Mr. Duterte inspected part of the disaster area on Sunday, and met with top officials in Tuguegarao City for a televised briefing on the damage and the recovery effort.

“I share the grief of those who lost their loved ones,” the president said.

A slightly weakened Mangkhut battered the coast of southern China on Sunday, blowing out the windows of high rises in Hong Kong and causing floods and power outages in Macau.

Nearly 2.5 million people were ordered to evacuate China’s southern province of Guandong, as Mangkhut churned its way toward the mainland. Four people were killed in the province, one of the country’s most populous, according to the state news media.

The storm crossed the southern coast with winds as high as 100 miles an hour. As night fell, the streets of the cities along China’s southern coast largely emptied as residents heeded warnings to stay indoors, having already stocked up on food and water at stores on Saturday and earlier Sunday. Guangzhou ordered all restaurants closed to keep people off the streets, and high-speed rail service was suspended in the province.

Typhoon Mangkhut: Deadly Storm Nears Hong Kong and China’s Coast

Typhoon Mangkhut was nearing Hong Kong and the southern coast of China on Sunday, after cutting a destructive path through the Philippines and killing dozens of people there. The storm had weakened overnight but was still a severe typhoon, with gusts of up to 120 miles an hour, the Hong Kong authorities said.

The storm was expected to pass about 60 miles south of Hong Kong before moving on to China’s heavily populated Guangdong Province. Hong Kong’s weather agency warned that Victoria Harbour could see storm surges of almost 10 feet.

In the Philippines, officials said Sunday morning that the death toll from the storm had risen to 25. But despite the suffering, there was relief there that the devastation had not been much worse.

[Catch up on the rest of our storm coverage.]

Mangkhut was moving relatively quickly across the South China Sea and was on track to pass south of Hong Kong Sunday afternoon before barreling into southern China’s Guangdong Province by the evening.

Winds had weakened but forecasts said it would still pack the power of a Category 2 storm when it made landfall, possibly near Maoming, a big petrochemicals center.

The area has relatively few low-lying towns that would be vulnerable to storm surge as the typhoon makes landfall, and Guangdong, China’s most populous province, has extensive experience with typhoons, and makes elaborate preparations for each of them.

Evacuations of low-lying areas are mandatory. Fishing vessels are ordered into well-protected anchorages. After 16 workers were killed when their shanty collapsed in a typhoon in 2003, the province pursued a strenuous campaign of demolishing or upgrading substandard housing.

If Mangkhut shifts course slightly to the north, though, it could hit Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta area, one of the world’s most important manufacturing hubs and home to more than 60 million people.

Hong Kong itself is quite resilient to typhoons. Although heavy rain may trigger landslides, the former British colony is not especially vulnerable to flooding because it has few low-lying areas.

The sprawling river delta around it, however, is barely above sea level and has struggled with flooding despite years of investment in drainage systems. Climate change has exacerbated the problem. The provincial capital, Guangzhou, has more to lose from rising seas and more severe storms than any other city on the planet, according to a World Bank report.

In Zhanjiang, a coastal city of 8 million on the storm’s path near Maoming, workers were boarding up storefronts on Saturday, while residents crowded supermarkets and emptied some of them of water, rice and packaged noodles.

At Yugang Beach, along a bay near the city center, a loudspeaker warned bathers to stay out of the water because of the “influence of the typhoon,” though few seemed concerned given the blue skies and warm temperatures. A woman selling chilled coconuts said she would simply stay home on Sunday.

Beside a rusting ferry ship nearby, groups of young men collected sand into large nylon sacks. One of them, Liang Jiawei, said they intended to use the improvised sandbags to brace the glass windows at the real estate office where they worked.

They recalled that Typhoon Mujigae, the last major typhoon to strike the city, in 2015, killed at least 11 people. “People have been preparing ahead of time because three years ago people were not prepared well,” Mr. Liang said.

Provincial authorities have issued a video on social media showing footage of the previous typhoon and warning people not to take any chances.

A top Philippine official, Francis Tolentino, said Sunday morning that at least 25 people had been killed, including a family of four caught in a landslide in their home in the Cordillera Mountains. Among the dead were two rescue workers killed in landslides, local news media reported.

The police said the body of one victim, a young girl, was found in the Marikina River in the eastern part of metropolitan Manila, though the densely populated capital region seemed to have been spared major damage.

The eye made landfall over Baggao in Cagayan Province and moved west across the country, hitting the opposite coast near Laoag City less than eight hours later.

[Here’s how to help support the recovery efforts.]

Videos posted by the Philippine Red Cross in the early hours of Sunday morning show rescue efforts in San Fabian, Pangasinan Province, on the western side of Luzon. Rescuers evacuated families from their homes on boats as the water had risen to neck deep levels in some areas.

The authorities said more than 105,000 people had taken shelter in evacuation centers as the typhoon was nearing. Much of the planning for Mangkhut was informed by lessons learned from Typhoon Haiyan, the devastating 2013 storm that killed 6,000 people and left more than four million homeless.

“Because of other typhoons, people have internalized the fact that they have to go to evacuation centers, so the process was quite smooth this time,” Mr. Tolentino said. “Some people wanted to stay with their farm animals, but if you have to choose between your life or your animals, you should choose your life.”

The New York Times reporters Hannah Beech and Kimberly dela Cruz traveled along Luzon’s western and northern coasts on Saturday. Foliage, trees and rolling coconuts were strewn across the roads, which were deserted except for volunteer crews removing debris to make them passable and the occasional emergency vehicle.

In one community after another, they reported seeing downed trees and badly damaged buildings. Signs, tin roofs and gates that had been torn free flew about.

In Claveria, a corn- and rice-growing area on the northern coast, the Antonio family had fled their home about 1 a.m. for sturdier shelter. Marck James Antonio, 24, stayed behind and was struck and gashed in the right temple by flying debris. But he was conscious and still moving around.

“This was the strongest and the worst storm that I’ve ever experienced in my life,” said his mother, Teresita Antonio, 54. “I was crying before because I don’t know how I will be able to afford to fix my house.”

“It was shaking like an earthquake,” said another resident, Robert Tumaneng, 55, a fish farmer. From a road above, the area where the fish ponds once were looked like a giant lake, with the tips of submerged palm trees and thatched roofs sticking out.

Further east, in Sanchez Mira, more than 270 people had sought shelter at a community hall.

“Some people didn’t want to evacuate their homes but I forced them,” said Rewin Valenzuela, 48, a local leader. “We evacuated everyone to prevent loss of life.”

The winds made it difficult to stand outdoors but some residents were returning home, carrying mattresses and plastic buckets with food and other provisions. The roofs had been torn off other houses and a few that were built on stilts listed dangerously.

The 12 million residents of the metropolitan Manila area, one of the world’s most densely populated cities, appeared to have been spared major destruction as the center of the storm passed hundreds of miles to the north.

The megacity was hit by heavy rain and strong winds, with trees uprooted and flooding in some areas. Among the inundated roads was Roxas Boulevard, a major artery that runs along Manila Bay and often floods during storms.

More than 1,600 families were evacuated after the Marikina River, which runs through part of the city, began rising quickly because of runoff from nearby mountains. The police said the body of a child, about 10 years old, was found floating in the river under a bridge in Pasig, one of several cities that make up Metro Manila.

The Manila area sits near sea level on the shore of Manila Bay, making it vulnerable to the typhoons that sweep in from the Pacific.

Typhoon Mangkhut: Storm Slams Philippines on Landfall

Typhoon Mangkhut struck the Philippines early Saturday after thousands of people evacuated their homes to dodge the 550-mile wide storm as it roared across the Pacific.

The ferocity of the storm — with maximum sustained winds of around 120 miles per hour — in some ways eclipsed Hurricane Florence on the other side of the world, which was pummeling the Mid-Atlantic Coast of the United States with life-threatening rains and flooding.

As dawn was breaking in the Philippines, there was no official word on casualties or damage.

The eye of Mangkhut, known as Ompong in the Philippines, made landfall on the northeastern portion of Luzon island, the country’s rice- and corn-growing heartland, at about 1:40 a.m.

[Catch up on the rest of our storm coverage.]

Strong winds and heavy rain battered northern and central Luzon as the eye of Typhoon Mangkhut slammed into the island, the largest and most populous in the Philippines, in the early morning hours of Saturday. The eye made landfall over Baggao in Cagayan Province around 1:40 a.m., according to the country’s national weather service, and it continued to move northwest across the country.

The maximum sustained wind speed of the typhoon had slowed to around 120 miles per hour as it reached Luzon’s shores, according to the national weather service, but some gusts still reached up to 200 miles per hour.

Heavy rain and battering winds were reported in Cagayan, with Manuel Mamba, the provincial governor, describing the provincial capital Tuguegarao as being “pummeled” during an telephone interview with the ABS-CBN News Channel.

Associated Press journalists sheltering in a hotel in Tuguegarao early Saturday reported seeing tin roof sheets and other debris hurtling through the air and store signs crashing to the ground.

Meteorologists in Manila said even the typhoon’s weaker winds could be deadly. “It can lift cars, you can’t stand, you can’t even crawl against that wind,” Rene Pacientem, a government forecaster, told reporters.

Roads were deserted in coastal Ilocos Sur, on the northwestern side of Luzon, as authorities warned of storm surges up to six feet in that province. Trees felled by the storm blocked roadways.

The heavily populated Metro Manila area, further south on Luzon Island, seemed to have been spared the worst of the storm. Early Saturday, the national weather service was warning of strong winds and moderate rain in that area — issuing the lowest-level alert — but flooding was still possible in low-lying areas.

Much of the planning for Mangkhut was informed by Typhoon Haiyan, the devastating 2013 storm that led to the deaths of thousands of people and left more than four million homeless.

That storm taught many lessons. Food and fresh water must be in position before a storm hits, as roads and airports may be closed for a week or more afterward because of fallen trees and other damage. Soldiers and police officers need to fan out to restore order as soon as the typhoon passes, so that civil society does not collapse in storm-ravaged areas. And evacuation centers need to be built on higher ground, with stronger roofs.

The task of naming typhoons falls to the Japan Meteorological Agency, which uses names sequentially from a list suggested by different countries. But when typhoons enter the Philippines’ area of responsibility for storm monitoring, they are assigned a different name by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, the national meteorological agency. It has issued its own list each year since it was established in 1972. Thus, Mangkhut became Ompong in the Philippines.

Local names, the agency reasons, are easier to remember in rural areas and make the storms feel more immediate, increasing the chance that people will take them seriously.

The Philippine agency also assigns names to tropical depressions, which are not named internationally, because even though they are less powerful than typhoons, they can still cause significant damage.

The internationally recognized name for the typhoon, Mangkhut, is the Thai word for mangosteen, a tropical, reddish-purple fruit native to Southeast Asia.

The mangosteen, which has a hard shell with white flesh inside, is cheap and plentiful in Asia but rarer and more expensive in the West, where it is nonetheless growing in popularity.

Typhoon Mangkhut Live Updates: Philippines Braces for the Worst

Thousands of people were being evacuated from their homes in the Philippines on Friday, as Super Typhoon Mangkhut, a colossal storm more than 550 miles wide with maximum sustained wind speeds of 173 miles per hour, howled its way across the Pacific.

Mangkhut’s eye is on course to hit in the early hours Saturday on the northern island of Luzon, the country’s rice and corn growing heartland, where more than four million people are at risk.

The storm, gusting at speeds equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane, passed the American territory of Guam on Thursday, knocking out 80 percent of the island’s electricity and downing trees and power lines.

Across the Philippines, schools have been shuttered, home and business owners have boarded their windows and the military has been put on high alert.

President Rodrigo Duterte barred troops from taking leave, and ordered that rice seized by customs officials at the country’s ports should be turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development for potential disaster relief.

Hundreds of bulldozers were made ready in the event of landslides, and rescue workers were being deployed across the country. In some cases, Mr. Duterte said, resources that had already been dispatched were being moved to get them out of the path of the storm.

President Duterte warned that the storm could deal a severe blow to the country’s agricultural sector, just as the rice and corn harvests are set to start.

The president’s order that farmers harvest their most mature grains immediately set up a difficult choice for farmers who were also told to evacuate.

If the country was hit hard by the storm, the president predicted hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue.

After the Philippines, the storm is predicted to pass Hong Kong on Sunday before slamming into the Chinese mainland on Monday morning.

The Hong Kong Observatory warned residents of the territory to “take suitable precautions and pay close attention to the latest information” on the storm.

In mainland China, the southern provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan have ordered residents to seek shelter away from the coast.

The White Helmets prepare provocation in Syrian Idlib

The imminent threat of offensive launched by Assad’s forces in the North-West of Syria makes the insurgents and their patrons from Western powers nervous. Mainstream mass-media citing statements of some Western officials ones again turn back to the well-known scenario of Assad’s intention to use chemical weapons.


Syrian sources ( note the activity of The White Helmets, the NGO based on the territory controlled by Jabhat al-Nusra and over groups close to it. The White Helmets are reported to traffic chemicals to the town of Jisr al-Shughur. This town is one of the targets of Assad’s forces offensive.


By the way, the White Helmets have already learned how to deal with chemical weapons from the British private military company named “Olive” which is considered to be one of the main suppliers of mercenaries to the Middle East ( 03 / britain-g4s-at-center-of-global-mercenary-industry-says-charity).

The most likely provocation scenario seems to be some kind of this:

  1. Active information work is being carried out to create the necessary information picture for the provocation before the onset of the offensive by the Syrian army.
  2. Materials for the provocation can be stored in one of the settlements that can become targets of the offensive of the Syrian army (
  3. The mechanism of the provocation can be the following: chlorine or sarin is sprayed in the main directions of mechanized units of the Syrian army appearance. This may happen in one of the towns of Idlib.
  4. Then follows the stage of the “crime” fixing performed by the White Helmets (the operators may be ordinary militants) who start to promote the “war crime of Assad” through media.


There are no prerequisites for the militants to hold off the impending offensive of the Syrian army without “chemical provocation. The White Helmets and their “allies” have a motive, skilled executors, human resources, equipment, chemicals and a political order for delaying the final stage of the Syrian war.

The Syrians will have to do much in this field to prevent the possible consequences of the attack. Since this is a classic “false flag operation”, special services of foreign countries are sure to be in charge of it at certain stages of its implementation.

Pope Francis Live Updates: Attack on Pontiff Further Clouds Ireland Visit

Right Now: The pope has landed in village of Knock to pray at a revered shrine.

On the second day of a difficult mission to win back the confidence of Irish Catholics, Pope Francis awoke on Sunday to a bombshell attack from within his own citadel.

A former top-ranking Vatican official released a 7,000-word letter asserting that the pontiff had known about the abuses of a now-disgraced American prelate, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, years before they became public.

Carlo Maria Viganò, a right-wing critic of Francis and a former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, claimed that the pope had failed to punish Cardinal McCarrick, who was suspended in June following allegations that he coerced seminarians into sexual relationships. He was also found to have abused a teenage altar boy 47 years ago, when he was a priest in New York.

In the letter, published by the National Catholic Register and Lifesite News, publications critical of Francis, the archbishop called on the pope to resign.

“In this extremely dramatic moment for the universal Church,” the archbishop wrote, “he must acknowledge his mistakes and, in keeping with the proclaimed principle of zero tolerance, Pope Francis must be the first to set an example for cardinals and bishops who covered up McCarrick’s abuses and resign with all of them.”

The Vatican did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The archbishop’s startling accusation will not come as a complete surprise to Vatican watchers, since he is part of a conservative camp that blames liberals, like the pope, for allowing homosexuality in the church. But it further complicates Francis’ efforts to persuade Irish Catholics that the church is ready to confront its legacy of concealing sexual abuse.

• After the pope’s meeting with survivors of abuse on Saturday, Francis traveled on Sunday to the west of Ireland to visit a shrine in the village of Knock.

• Francis again addressed the issue of child sexual abuse by members of the Catholic Church in a speech at Knock Shrine,” begging “for the Lord’s forgiveness.”

• Vigils were expected across the country, including one in Tuam, where the remains of hundreds of children were found buried in an abandoned septic system of a Catholic-run home for unmarried mothers.

• Here are highlights of the pope’s visit to Ireland from Saturday.

• The New York Times will have live coverage from Ireland throughout the pope’s two-day visit.

Francis headed on Sunday to the tiny, hilly village of Knock, home to fewer than 1,000 people. Knock has served as an engine of faith for the Catholic Church since 1879, when a group of townspeople reported seeing apparitions of the Virgin Mary and other members of the holy family.

Some 45,000 of the country’s Catholic pilgrims made their way here on Sunday, through heavy traffic and pouring rain. It is telling that Francis used his time here to beg for God’s forgiveness.

Under drizzly, misty skies and the soothing sound of Ave Maria, silent onlookers surrounded the Knock Shrine, which went into a lockdown at 9:20 a.m., a few minutes before the plane carrying Francis touched down at Ireland West airport.

“The pope has arrived,” the choir announced, as a screen showed his descent from the steps of the plane. Audience members cheered, clapped and said, “God Bless him.”

At the shrine, the pope declared: “None of us can fail to be moved by the stories of young people who suffered abuse, were robbed of their innocence, who were taken from their mothers, and left scarred by painful memories.”

“This open wound challenges us to be firm and decisive in the pursuit of truth and justice. I beg the Lord’s forgiveness for these sins and for the scandal and betrayal felt by so many others in God’s family.”

Francis prayed at the shrine, asking the Virgin Mary to heal those who have been abused.

John Paul II also prayed here on the last papal visit to Ireland, in 1979. After that visit, the local priest, Monsignor James Horan, drew widespread mockery for vowing to build an airport in the tiny village.

“Now don’t tell anybody,” he told a television crew. “We’ve no money but we’re hoping to get it next week or the week after.”

The airport was competed in 1986, and, in its way, became a symbol of the power of the Irish church.

The village had prepared feverishly for this papal visit. More than 50,000 flowers were planted, buildings along the main road were repainted, and every bed-and-breakfast in town — including ones called the Lamb of God, Divine Mercy and the House of Eden — had been fully booked by Friday.

“It was very emotional when we saw the pope in 1979,” said Tina Stenson-Cunningham, 63, holding onto a railing by the road where the Popemobile was expected to pass through. “But now we’ve experienced more of life, it’s more meaningful, more spiritual,” she said.

— Iliana Magra and Jason Horowitz

On Saturday, in a 90-minute meeting with survivors, the pontiff forcefully expressed his disgust with the church’s history of sexual abuse, condemning “corruption and cover up within the church as ‘caca,’” using a Spanish word for excrement.

But his efforts, wrapped in the pomp and celebrity of a two-day visit, left some of his Irish audience cold.

“Usually, when someone comes to visit, you get to know them better,” wrote Fintan O’Toole in The Irish Times. “How can someone have such a warm and human touch on one hand and be so terribly out of touch on the other?”

Ireland has transformed itself over the past decade, throwing off the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church in a series of momentous steps following revelations not just of clerical sexual abuse, but also of the virtual enslavement of unwed mothers in so-called Magdalene laundries and other grim church-run institutions, and forced the adoptions of many of the children.

Same-sex marriage was approved in Ireland in 2015, one of the world’s most restrictive abortion laws was scrapped there in May, and the pope was welcomed on Saturday by the country’s first gay prime minister.

Some have called for new zero-tolerance procedures, like the creation of a tribunal to judge bishops who do not appropriately handle accusations of sexual abuse. As Tony Kelly, 58, a bar manager in Dublin, said on Saturday, “People are looking more for actions rather than words.”

But so far, the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics has given no hint that groundbreaking new practices are imminent.

— Jason Horowitz

The pope’s visit to Knock offers countless reminders — like his recitation of the Angelus prayer at the shrine — that for all the changes in Ireland, Catholicism remains deeply rooted in the country.

The Angelus — a Catholic devotion commemorating the Incarnation — is broadcast twice each day by Ireland’s public broadcaster, RTE, and the shrine draws crowds of visitors.

Until the 1970s, the Irish Constitution recognized “the special position” of the Roman Catholic Church, and the Constitution says, “The state acknowledges that the homage of public worship is due to Almighty God.”

Most schools in Ireland are government-funded but privately run, and in most cases that means run by the church — more than 90 percent of primary schools are Catholic.

Church schools are permitted to give preference in admissions to Catholic children, which has prompted some non-Catholic parents to have their children baptized into the church.

The archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, has long pushed for the church to divest itself of many of its schools, but the religious orders that control them have resisted.

Ireland’s 2016 census found that 78 percent of residents considered themselves Roman Catholic — down from 94 percent in 1971, comparable to the level of Catholic identification in Italy and higher than the levels found in Spain and France.

— Richard Pérez-Peña

Aerial footage so far has shown fewer people than expected on the streets to greet Francis as he has made his way around in his Popemobile, for example, to St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral from Dublin Castle on Saturday.

Television footage showed throngs of fans at street corners, but crowds quickly turned into single files alongside the road, cheering as the pope approached.

Fewer than 600,000 are expected to attend the open-air Mass on Sunday, less than half the number that turned out to watch John Paul II in 1979, when about 1.25 million gathered to see him.

It was unclear whether a protest called “Say Nope to the Pope,” which encouraged people to snap up free tickets and then skip the events, was having an effect.

— Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura

Matt Talbot died in obscurity 93 years ago, having drawn little attention after living a quiet existence of modest means and hard labor. But on Saturday, the leader of the world’s Catholics stopped at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Dublin to pray before relics of Talbot, who is far better known in death than he was in life.

Talbot, an alcoholic Dubliner known as the “Holy Drinker,” overcame his addiction with the help of a priest and became deeply religious. His story spread rapidly after he died. Substance abuse clinics around the world are named for him, as is a bridge in Dublin with a statue of him nearby.

Already an unofficial patron saint to those struggling to stay sober, he may be granted official status. The church gave him the title “venerated” in the 1970s, a step toward canonization.

One of 12 children born to a poor family, with a father who was a violent alcoholic, Talbot began drinking heavily at age 12 and became so addicted that he once pawned his boots to buy a pint at a pub. At 27, he swore never to touch alcohol again — a vow he kept until his death, 42 years later.

“Never go too hard on the man who can’t give up drink,” he is quoted as having said. “It is as hard to give up drink as it is to raise the dead to life again.”

— Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura

Live: Pope Francis Is Visiting Ireland Under a Cloud of Abuse Scandals

Right Now: Pope Francis is traveling to Ireland for a two-day visit.

Pope Francis is making the first papal visit to Ireland in 39 years, joining Catholics from around the world, but the celebrations will be held in the shadow of unrelenting revelations of sexual abuse and cover-ups that have eroded the moral authority and unity of the church.

The pope has struggled to satisfy enraged survivors of abuse by clergy, who have accused him of failing to speak or act forcefully enough to expose and punish wrongdoing, and his every public utterance will be parsed for whether and how he addresses the scandals.

Francis, who last week lamented “we showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them,” will meet with abuse survivors in Ireland, the Vatican has said, but there was no mention of the topic in his official public schedule for the trip, originally designed as a celebration of families.

No nation has been hit harder by the church’s scandals than Ireland, once a citadel of conservative Catholicism where church and state were closely entwined for generations, and perhaps none has moved more sharply away from church teachings.

• Ireland has changed quite a bit since the last papal visit, but the same could be said of the papacy: Francis has signaled a more tolerant approach to gays than his predecessors, and has put less emphasis on abortion.

• Not everyone is pleased with the pope and his visit: Some people have signed up for tickets to his appearances and plan to not use them, and others are unhappy with his relatively lenient views.

• The visit is centered on the World Meeting of Families, a gathering to put a focus on the importance of marriage and the family.

• The New York Times will have live coverage from Ireland throughout the pope’s two-day visit.

A group representing survivors of clerical sexual abuse around the world issued a list of demands to Francis on Friday, including a “zero tolerance” church law, meaning that priests who molested children and superiors who protected abusers would be defrocked.

Ending Clerical Abuse, which has identified victims from over 172 countries worldwide, also called on the church to publicly identify abusive clerics, and to prosecute complicit bishops in church tribunals.

“We need to know who these sex offenders are, just like we need to know who these bishops are, because you know who they are, and you know what they’ve done,” Peter Isely, a survivor from Milwaukee and a founding member of the group, said at a news conference. “We’re not talking about unproven allegations, we’re talking about proven allegations, and who’s proven it? You’ve proven it.”

The demands followed reports that Cardinal Sean O’Malley, whom Francis had appointed to head a commission to address the crisis, had ignored word of sexual abuse accusations against Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, archbishop of Washington. Cardinal O’Malley withdrew from the World Families’ Meeting being held in Dublin.

Ending Clerical Abuse said that the commission had failed, and it had low expectations for the pope’s visit.

Cardinal O’Malley “hasn’t done the job, it’s clear,” Mr. Isely said. “This is a global problem and it’s going to take a global solution.”

— Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura

Just as it would be hard to overstate how much Ireland has changed since Pope John Paul II visited in 1979, this is also a very different pope, navigating a different world.

John Paul II, the first non-Italian pontiff in four and a half centuries, rode a historic wave of popularity and became a global symbol of resistance to communism during the Cold War, and in Dublin he drew what was called the largest crowd in Irish history. Vigorous and young by papal standards, at 59, he visited several countries on three continents that year, his first full year leading the church.

He did not stray far from church doctrine, reiterating during his Irish trip the church’s opposition to abortion, contraception and divorce.

Francis, 81, cuts a quieter, less imposing figure, and has aired more liberal views. He has said the church should be less fixated on gays, abortion and birth control, but he has not altered church doctrine on those issues.

— Elisabetta Povoledo

Some critics of Pope Francis couldn’t wait to apply for tickets for his appearances in Ireland — and then not use them.

A protest called “Say Nope to the Pope” encouraged critics of the church to snap up free tickets and then skip the events.

It has gained more than 10,000 supporters on its Facebook page, and has been much discussed on radio, in the papers and on the streets. One protester claimed to have reserved more than 1,000 tickets under various assumed names, including Jesus Christ.

There are plenty of Irish Catholics with grievances against the church — survivors of abuse by priests, women who were forced to give up children for adoption or bury them under mother-and-baby homes, poor people who had no choice but to work without pay in church-run facilities.

And then there are the many Irish who have rebelled against the church and its sway over government policy, or have just drifted away from the faith.

But even some of the critics of Pope Francis and his church find the “Say Nope” protest in bad taste. Elaine Barrett, 29, said she had plenty of problems with the church and looked forward to the day “when it’s taken out of the schools.”

But, she said, she thought it was wrong to deny people who wanted to pray with the pope the opportunity to do so.

Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s prime minister, called the protest “petty and meanspirited.”

— Jason Horowitz

The pope’s visit is centered around the ninth World Meeting of Families, which the church describes as a gathering to reflect upon the importance of marriage and the family at a time when their definitions and boundaries are being contested around the world.

Pope John Paul II called the first meeting in 1994, to coincide with the United Nations’ International Year of the Family, and it has been held every three years since then, each time in a different city. Philadelphia played host in 2015. This year’s meeting is in Dublin and began on Tuesday; the pope will take part in the last two of its six days.

The themes of the meeting have been drawn from Francis’ 2016 apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), and reflect some of his enduring concerns: the impact of conflict — from war to domestic strife — on families and children, the role of education in raising people out of poverty, economic and environmental sustainability, and the leadership roles of women. Organizers of the event note that only 20 percent of the speakers and panelists are clergy members.

Francis will deliver a speech to the Festival of Families at Croke Park Stadium on Saturday evening and will celebrate Mass in a park on Sunday afternoon.

— Elisabetta Povoledo

One event at the gathering prompted controversy long before it took place: A presentation on the church “showing welcome and respect” to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, by the Rev. James Martin, who published a book on the topic last year.

Conservative protesters have gathered at his public readings from the book, “Building a Bridge,” and a petition to ban him from the World Meeting of Families collected thousands of signatures.

But the talk, delivered on Thursday to more than 1,200 people, passed without incident. Mr. Martin, editor-at-large of the Jesuit magazine America, said he spent three hours afterward signing books and talking with people, who were largely supportive of his view.

“One bishop told me, ‘Just the fact that they invited you is a sign,’ ” he said.

In recent years, there has been much debate among Catholics about whether to expand the definition of families to include people who have divorced and remarried, as well as L.G.B.T. people, and of what role such people can play in parishes. Pope Francis welcomed that discussion during two synods on the family, in 2014 and 2015, but there was considerable resistance from conservatives in the church.

“Most L.G.B.T. Catholics feel like lepers in the church,” Mr. Martin said in his talk. Being Christian, he added, means standing up for “the marginalized, the persecuted, the beaten down.”

— Elisabetta Povoledo

An ultraconservative Catholic group, the Lumen Fidei Institute, has been holding a rival gathering in Dublin, criticizing Francis for pushing a “watered-down” version of Christian values and for adopting a more open view about gays in the Church.

Anthony Murphy, founder of the organization, told Crux, a Catholic news service, that bishops had become “embarrassed” to preach the Gospel.

The group, made up of lay people, invited Marton Gyongyosi, the vice-president of Jobbik, a Hungarian right-wing party, to speak about the “Threat of Islam to Christian Europe.”

On Thursday, Mr. Gyongyosi told a packed audience at a hotel, where the goodie bags included a book titled “How to Avoid Purgatory,” that people must “fight against migration,” and against liberal politicians who “don’t accept the Christian values of our civilization.”

Mr. Murphy strongly opposes the liberalization of church views, and said that inviting Mr. Martin to speak at the family gathering had been a “sign of the corruption in the church.”

“It’s ridiculous,” he told Crux. “These men, or are they mice, encounter a world, certainly the Western world, which is turning against God’s plan for family and marriage, and instead of countering that with an authenticity, they water down the truth and they give a message which is politically correct.”

— Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura

Kofi Annan, Diplomat Who Redefined the U.N., Dies at 80

Kofi Annan, a soft-spoken and patrician diplomat from Ghana, who became the seventh secretary general of the United Nations, projecting himself and his organization as the world’s conscience and moral arbiter despite bloody debacles that left indelible stains on his record as a peacekeeper, died on Saturday. He was 80.

His death, after a short illness, was confirmed by his family in a statement from the Kofi Annan Foundation, which is based in Switzerland.

Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001, he was the first black African to head the United Nations, and led the organization for two successive five-year terms beginning in 1997 — a decade of turmoil that challenged the sprawling body and redefined its place in a changing world.

On his watch as what the Nobel committee called Africa’s foremost diplomat, Al Qaeda struck New York and Washington, the United States invaded Iraq, and Western policymakers turned their sights from the Cold War to globalization and the struggle with Islamic militancy.

An emblem as much of the body’s most ingrained flaws as of its grandest aspirations, Mr. Annan was the first secretary general to be chosen from the international civil servants who make up the United Nations’ bureaucracy.

He was credited with revitalizing its institutions, crafting what he called a new “norm of humanitarian intervention,” particularly in places where there was no peace for traditional peacekeepers to keep, and, not least, in persuading Washington to unblock arrears withheld because of the profound misgivings about the body voiced by American conservatives.

His tenure was rarely free of debate, and he was likened in stature to Dag Hammarskjold, the second secretary general, who died in a mysterious plane crash in Africa in 1961.

In 1998, Mr. Annan traveled to Baghdad to negotiate directly with Saddam Hussein over the status of United Nations weapons inspections, winning a temporary respite in the long battle of wills with the West but raising questions about his decision to shake hands — and even smoke cigars — with the dictator.

In fact, Mr. Annan called the 2003 invasion of Iraq illegal and suffered an acute personal loss when a trusted and close associate, the Brazilian official Sérgio Vieira de Mello, his representative in Baghdad, died in a suicide truck bombing in August 2003 that struck the United Nations office there, killing many civilians.

The attack prompted complaints that Mr. Annan had not grasped the perils facing his subordinates after the ouster of Mr. Hussein.

While his admirers praised his courtly, charismatic and measured approach, he was hamstrung by the inherent flaw of his position as what many people called a “secular pope” — a figure of moral authority bereft of the means other than persuasion to enforce the high standards he articulated.

As secretary general, Mr. Annan, like all his predecessor and successors, commanded no divisions of troops or independent sources of income. Ultimately, his writ extended only as far as the usually squabbling powers making up the Security Council — the highest U.N. executive body — allowed it to run.

In his time, those divisions deepened, reaching a nadir in the invasion of Iraq. Over his objections, the campaign went ahead on the American and British premise that it was meant to disarm the Iraqi regime of chemical weapons, which it did not have — or, at least, were never found.

Iraq also brought embarrassment closer to home when reports began to surface in 2004 that Mr. Annan’s son, Kojo Annan, worked for Cotecna Inspection Services, a Geneva-based company that had won a lucrative contract in a vast humanitarian program supervised by the United Nations in Iraq and known as oil for food.

A commission led by Paul A. Volcker concluded that the secretary general had not influenced the awarding of the contract, but had not investigated aggressively once questions were raised.

The secretary general said he took the commission’s findings as exoneration, but his reputation suffered, particularly in the eyes of adversaries in Washington.

In assessing his broader record, moreover, many critics singled out Mr. Annan’s personal role as head of the United Nations peacekeeping operations from 1993 to 1997 — a period that saw the killing of 18 American service personnel in Somalia in October 1993, the deaths of more than 800,000 Rwandans in the genocide of 1994, and the bloody massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims by Bosnian Serb forces at Srebrenica in 1995.

In Rwanda and Bosnia, United Nations forces drawn from across the organization’s member states were outgunned and showed little resolve. In both cases, troops from Europe were quick to abandon their missions. And in both cases, Mr. Annan was accused of failing to safeguard those who looked to United Nations soldiers for protection.

“Annan felt that the very countries that had turned their backs on the Rwandans and Bosnians were the ones making him their scapegoat,” Samantha Power, an author who later became ambassador at the United Nations during the Obama administration, wrote in 2008. “But he knew that his name would appear in the history books beside the two defining genocidal crimes of the second half of the 20th century.”

Despite the serial setbacks, Mr. Annan commanded the world stage with ease in his impeccably tailored suits, goatee beard and slight, graceful physique — attributes that made him and his second wife, Nane Lagergren, a global power couple.

He seemed to radiate an aura of probity and authority. “How do we explain Kofi Annan’s enduring moral prestige,” the Canadian author, politician and academic Michael Ignatieff wrote in a review of Mr. Annan’s 2012 memoir, “Interventions.”

“Personal charisma is only part of the story,” Mr. Ignatieff wrote. “In addition to his charm, of which there is plenty, there is the authority that comes from experience. Few people have spent so much time around negotiating tables with thugs, warlords and dictators. He has made himself the world’s emissary to the dark side.”

The desire to burnish his legacy seemed to motivate Mr. Annan long after Ban Ki-moon replaced him as secretary general, and he set up a nonprofit foundation to promote higher standards of global governance. In 2008, he headed a commission of eminent Africans that persuaded rival factions in Kenya to reconcile a year after more than 1,000 people were killed during and after disputed elections.

In February 2012, Mr. Annan was appointed as the joint envoy of the Arab League and the United Nations to seek a settlement as civil war tightened its grip on Syria. But he resigned in frustration in August of that year, citing the intransigence of both sides in a conflict that convulsed and reshaped the region and claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.

Kofi Atta Annan was born on April 8, 1938, in the city of Kumasi in what was then Gold Coast and which, in 1957, became Ghana, the first African state to achieve independence from British colonialism. Born into an aristocratic family, he had three sisters, two of them older. The third, Efua, was a twin who died in the 1990s.

After a spell at the elite Mfantsipim boarding school founded by Methodists, he went on to higher education as an economist in Ghana, at Macalester College in St. Paul, in Geneva, and at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management.

In 1965, he married Titi Alakija, a woman from a prosperous Nigerian family. The couple had two children, a daughter, Ama, and a son, Kojo. The marriage foundered in the late 1970s.

In 1984, Mr. Annan married Ms. Lagergren, a divorced lawyer working at the United Nations. She, too, was a scion of a prominent family, a niece of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who protected thousands of Hungarian Jews during World War II but disappeared after being captured by Soviet forces. Ms. Lagergren had a daughter, Nina, from her first marriage.

He is survived by Ms. Lagergren, along with Ama, Kojo and Nina.

Most of Mr. Annan’s working life was spent in the corridors and conference rooms of the United Nations, but, he told the author Philip Gourevitch in 2003, “I feel profoundly African, my roots are deeply African, and the things I was taught as a child are very important to me.”

His first appointment with a United Nations agency was in 1962, at the World Health Organization in Geneva. Mr. Annan returned briefly to Ghana to promote tourism and worked in Ethiopia with the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa before returning to the body’s European headquarters.

Later, in New York, he worked at first in senior human resources and budgetary positions, and, in the early 1990s, the former secretary general, Boutros Boutros Ghali of Egypt, appointed him first as deputy, then as head of peacekeeping operations.

The appointment plunged Mr. Annan into a maelstrom of conflicts where United Nations forces were deployed. As genocide approached Rwanda in 1994 — months after the downing of a Black Hawk helicopter in Mogadishu, Somalia, and the killing of American service personnel — the Clinton administration in Washington had little appetite for intervention.

But on the ground, the Canadian commander, Lt. Gen. Roméo Dallaire, heading a modest force of 2,500 United Nations troops, sought permission from Mr. Annan’s office to raid an arms cache that he believed would be used in massacres. Permission was refused. Only years later, after the release of a critical report in 1999, did Mr. Annan declare that “all of us must bitterly regret that we did not do more to prevent it. On behalf of the United Nations, I acknowledge this failure and express my deep remorse.”

In Bosnia, too, the United Nations was accused of being overcautious and restricted by the mandate approved by the Security Council for the establishment of so-called safe havens under United Nations protection that proved, in Srebrenica, to be illusory. European powers opposed airstrikes to halt the advancing Bosnian Serbs, who overran Srebrenica despite the presence of peacekeeping troops from the Netherlands.

Later that year, Mr. Annan seemed to adopt a tougher line, approving the NATO bombing campaign that forced Serbia to the negotiating table for the Daytona peace accords. At that time, airstrikes required a so-called dual key approval of the NATO command and the United Nations.

“When Kofi turned it,” Richard Holbrooke, the former American envoy, told Mr. Gourevitch, “he became secretary general in waiting.” With Washington pressing for the ouster of Mr. Boutros Ghali, Mr. Annan took office as secretary general with American approval on Jan. 1, 1997.

He was, Ms. Power wrote, “the primary guardian of the U.N. rule book,” which insisted on the paramountcy of the Security Council as what Mr. Annan called “the sole source of legitimacy” in approving overseas interventions. Those rules were openly flouted by NATO in March 1999, with its bombing of the former Yugoslavia, forcing Mr. Annan to seek some kind of middle ground.

“It is, indeed, tragic that diplomacy has failed,” he said on the first day of NATO bombing, choosing words that largely defined the dilemmas confronting policymakers throughout and beyond his tenure, “but there are times when the use of force may be legitimate in the pursuit of peace.”

“We will not, and we cannot accept a situation where people are brutalized behind national boundaries,” he continued later as the 78-day aerial campaign ended its second week of efforts to halt a crackdown on ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

“For at the end of the 20th century, one thing is clear: A United Nations that will not stand up for human rights is a United Nations that cannot stand up for itself.”