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Friday, December 3, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 3 DEC 2010 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today received the Letters of Credence of Fernando F. Sanchez Campos, the new ambassador of Costa Rica to the Holy See, to whom he expressed his contentment at the Jubilee Year the nation is currently celebrating to mark the 375th anniversary of the discovery of the image of Our Lady of the Angels, the national patroness.

  The Pope referred to Costa Ricans as "a people who centuries ago welcomed the evangelical seed, to see how it would sprout forth in countless educational, healthcare and humanitarian initiatives. Thus the children of your land well know that in Christ the Son of God man can always find the strength to combat poverty, domestic violence, unemployment and corruption, seeking social justice, the common good, and the integral progress of human beings. No-one must feel themselves to be detached from the attainment of these exalted goals", he said.

  "In this context", the Pope continued, "the public authorities must be the first to seek out what is of benefit to everyone, working principally as a moral force that augments each individual's freedom and sense of responsibility. This must not undermine the fundamental values which support the inviolable dignity of the person, beginning with the unswerving protection of human life. In this context I am pleased to recall that it was in your country that the Pact of San Jose was signed, which expressly recognises the value of human life from conception. Thus it is to be hoped that Costa Rica does not violate the rights of the unborn with laws that legitimise in vitro fertilisation or abortion".

  The Holy Father then turned his attention to a new legal agreement which will, he said, "reaffirm the long history of mutual collaboration, healthy independence and mutual respect between the Holy See and Costa Rica", helping to guarantee "their traditional and fruitful understanding - more stably and more in keeping with current historical circumstances - with a view to the greater good of the country's religious and civil life".

  "I have made special mention of Costa Rica in my prayers, because of the tragic consequences of the torrential rains that affected the country", said Benedict XVI. "I also asked God that the nation may continue to follow the paths that make her a beacon for peace in the international community. To this end it is important that those who guide the country's destiny do not hesitate to reject impunity, juvenile delinquency, child labour, injustice and drug trafficking, encouraging such important measures as security in cities, adequate education of children and young people, due attention to those in prison and effective healthcare for everyone, ... as well as programmes to ensure that people can achieve a dignified standard of living and find decent work. Moreover, it is vital that new generations should acquire the conviction that conflicts cannot be won by mere force, but by converting hearts to goodness and truth, eradicating poverty and illiteracy, strengthening the rule of law and stimulating the independence and effectiveness of the law courts".

  "A great contribution in this direction will be made if one of society's fundamental and irreplaceable pillars is strengthened: the stability and union of the family. This institution is suffering, perhaps like no other, the effects of the broad and rapid transformations of society and culture; nonetheless, it must not lose its true identity. ... Thus, no measure will be in vain if it favours, safeguards and supports marriage between a man and a woman".

  "Protecting the natural environment will facilitate the defence of peace, because the two are intimately related", the Holy Father concluded. "Costa Rica has distinguished itself in the field of environmental protection and the search for a balance between human development and the safeguarding of natural resources. ... I encourage all Costa Ricans to continue to work towards what favours true human development, in harmony with the creation, while avoiding spurious and false interests, and lack of foresight in a field of such transcendent importance".
CD/                                    VIS 20101203 (680)

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