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Thursday, February 3, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 3 FEB 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Benedict XVI received the Letters of Credence of Alfons M. Kloss, the new ambassador of Austria to the Holy See.

  Addressing the diplomat in German the Holy Father mentioned his 2007 apostolic trip to the Austrian shrine of Mariazell during which, he said, he had had the chance to experience the profound Catholic faith so deeply rooted in the Austrian people. He likewise observed that the Austria is a country with a long tradition of peaceful coexistence among different religions and cultures.

  The Pope then went on to consider the relationship between State and religion, highlighting how the latter cannot be relegated only to the private sphere, and underlining the Catholic Church's role in education, and in assistance to the disadvantaged for whom she often acts as spokesperson.

  Another of the themes addressed in the Pope's remarks was defence of the family, and the need for policies to support and protect it.

  Finally, Benedict XVI referred to the building of the "common European home", underlining once again the role played by Christianity in the civilisation and culture of the continent.
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