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Friday, October 22, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 22 OCT 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Benedict XVI received the Letters of Credence of Luis Dositeo Latorre Tapia, the new ambassador of Ecuador to the Holy See.

  "In your country - which in 1978 I had the good fortune to visit as my venerated predecessor Pope John Paul I's special envoy to the Third National Marian Congress - the Word of Christ was sown generously and has flowered magnificently", the Pope told the diplomat. "The ecclesial community ... also joys when it sees that social harmony is being fomented, to which end it supports the efforts the Ecuadorian authorities have been making over recent years to rediscover the foundations of democratic coexistence, strengthen the rule of law and give new impulse to solidarity and fraternity".

  "I appeal to the Almighty", the Pope went on, "to ensure that this shining horizon of hope becomes ever wider with new projects and judicious decisions, so that the common good may prevail over partisan and class interests, the ethical imperative may remain an essential point of reference for all citizens, wealth may be equitably distributed, and sacrifices equally shared, not weighing exclusively on the most needy".

  "In the past of your beloved nation, so close to the Pope's heart, there have been moments of difficulty and tension, but the human and Christian virtues of its inhabitants have not been lacking, nor has their desire to prevail. ... The Ecuadorian authorities will do a great service to their country by augmenting this important human and spiritual heritage, whence energy and inspiration may be drawn to continue building those bastions that underpin all human communities, ... such as the defence of life from conception until natural end, religious freedom, freedom of expression and other civil liberties, because these are the authentic conditions for real social justice. This justice, in its turn, cannot be affirmed save on the basis of support and protection - also in juridical and economic terms - for the original cell of society which is the family, founded on the matrimonial bond of a man with a woman".

  "Another aspect of fundamental import are the policies that aim to eradicate unemployment, violence, impunity, illiteracy and corruption. In reaching these commendable goals, the pastors of the Church are aware that they must not enter into the political debate, proposing concrete solutions or imposing their presence. Yet they cannot remain neutral before the great human problems and aspirations, nor be inactive when the time comes to fight for justice. With due respect for the plurality of legitimate opinions, their role rather consists in using the Gospel and Church Social Doctrine to illuminate the minds and will of the faithful, so that they may make responsible decisions that lead to the building of a more harmonious and well-ordered society".

  Benedict XVI completed his address to the new ambassador by referring to the question of education. "The Church in Ecuador", he said, "has a rich history in the area of educating children and young people, having undertaken teaching activities with particular abnegation in distant, remote and impoverished areas of the nation. It is right and just that this arduous ecclesial task, example of healthy collaboration with the State, should not be ignored. ... The public authorities must guarantee the law that helps parents, both to educate their children according to their own religious convictions and ethical criteria, and to found and support educational institutions. In this perspective, it is also important for the public authorities to respect the specific identity and autonomy of educational institutions and of the Catholic university, in accordance with the 'modus vivendi' signed seventy years ago by the Republic of Ecuador and the Holy See".
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