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Thursday, December 15, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 15 DEC 2011 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, the Holy Father received the Letters of Credence of eleven new non-resident ambassadors to the Holy See: Margaret Allison King-Rousseau of Trinidad and Tobago, Hilia Garez Gomes Lima Barber of Guinea Bissau, Paul Widmer of Switzerland, Anatole Bacanamwo of Burundi, Arbhorn Manasvanich of Thailand, Muhammad Saleem of Pakistan, Amadeu Paulo Samuel da Conceicao of Mozambique, Tolendy Makeyev of Kyrgyzstan, Jaume Serra Serra of Andorra, Tamara Kunanayakam of Sri Lanka and Joseph Pare of Burkina Faso.

  The Holy Father addressed the diplomats as a group, focusing his remarks on the theme of solidarity as a mainstay for the integral development of peoples.

  "In our time the unity of the human family is an undeniable fact", the Holy Father explained. "Thanks to the communications media which bring all regions of the planet together, transport which facilitates human contacts, commercial ties which make economies interdependent, and problems of global importance such as environmental protection and mass migration, human beings have become more aware of their shared destiny. ... Mankind must see this interdependency not as a threat but as an opportunity. We are all responsible for one another, therefore it is important to maintain a positive vision of solidarity because it is the driving force of integral human development".

  In this context, Benedict XVI highlighted "intergenerational solidarity" which has its roots in the family. Concern for education and for the destiny of future generations is "a significant contribution to the perception of the unity of the human race", he said.

  "Shared responsibility" for the good of humankind is not opposed to cultural and religious diversity, the Holy Father went on. "The pluralism of cultures and religions does not contradict the joint search for truth, goodness and beauty. ... The Church, illuminated and upheld by the light of the Revelation, encourages men and women to entrust themselves to a reason which, purified by faith, ... becomes capable of seeing beyond partisan interests in order to discern the universal good necessary to all human beings: social and religious harmony and peace. These are goals for which everyone strives and which require not just an appropriate legislative framework, but also the high moral stature of all citizens, because solidarity has two complementary aspects: social principle and moral virtue".

  Solidarity fulfils its role of "social virtue" when it is founded on "structures of subsidiarity and on each individual's firm and unrelenting determination to work for the common good. ... The new challenges your countries are facing require a mobilisation of human intellect and creativity, in order to fight against poverty and to make a more effective and rational use of available resources and energy. ... Increasing people's sense of responsibility also involves protecting human dignity against any attempt to circumscribe it".

  "Justice and solidarity", the Pope concluded, "cannot be separated from the concept of the integral development of the person. In this sense, highlighting the primacy of the spirit is not only the responsibility of religions, but also of States which must implement cultural policies that promote universal access to the things of the spirit, emphasise the importance of social relationships and never hinder human beings in their free search for spirituality".
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