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Thursday, March 17, 2005


VATICAN CITY, MAR 17, 2005 (VIS) - Today at midday, Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano received, in the Pope's name, the Letters of Credence of the new ambassador from Panama to the Holy See, Lawrence Edward Chewning Fabrega.

  In his speech, a copy of which was given to the diplomat, the Pope expresses his happiness at the continuing "good understanding and close collaboration between the public authorities and the Church in Panama."

  "I am aware," the Pope writes, "of your government's concern to fight the poverty in which a part of the population still lives, establishing more favorable conditions for the creation of jobs and combating the blight of corruption. For her part, the Church has contributed, and will continue to contribute, to the true progress of people by proclaiming the Good News."

  After recalling that Panama "has already celebrated the first hundred years of republican life," John Paul II goes on to say that "the road traveled to affirm this historical and geographical identity offers reasons for hope. Solidly rooted in this identity, your country can continue to make an important contribution, favoring communication and good relations between the other peoples of the world."

  The Holy Father affirms that "now, the goals attained must be consolidated by firm commitments in order to face up to the phenomena that could endanger them. On this matter it is necessary to: Orient the investment of available resources in projects that aim to eradicate poverty and remedy the huge differences in the distribution of wealth; form the different generations in respect for the dignity of each ethnic group; improve the educational system; streamline the implementation of judicial power, and make the situation of prisoners more humane and just in order to facilitate their reinsertion into society; and finally, find the means necessary for the overall development of the men and women of Panama."

  The Holy Father concludes by expressing the desire to encourage "the government of a people with such deep Christian roots as the Panamanians, a people so welcoming and open to dialogue, to put all its efforts in achieving better conditions for the true development of the family, safeguarding the role of women in the various areas of society and generating greater opportunities for young people."

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