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Thursday, December 18, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 18 DEC 2008 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received the Letters of Credence of new ambassadors to the Holy See from Malawi (Isaac Chikwekwere Lamba), Sweden (Perols Ulla Birgitta Gudmundson), Sierra Leon (Christian Sheka Kargbo), Iceland (Elin Flygenring), Luxembourg (Paul Duhr), Madagascar (Rajaonarivony Narisoa), Belize (Oscar Ayuso), Tunisia (Rafiaa Limam Baouendi), Kazakhstan (Amanzhol Zhankuliyev), Bahrain (Naser Muhamed Youssef Al Belooshi), and the Fiji Islands (Pio Bosco Tikoisuva).

  The Pope addressed them jointly in French, then gave a personal message in writing regarding their respective countries to each of them.

  "The diversity of your provenance", said the Pope, "gives me cause to thank God for His creative love and for the multiplicity of His gifts, which never cease to surprise humanity. It is a teaching. At times diversity causes fear, which is why it is not to be wondered at if human beings prefer the monotony of uniformity. Some political-economic systems, claiming pagan or religious origins, have afflicted humanity for too long, attempting to render it the same through demagogy and violence. Those systems have reduced and continue to reduce the human being to a wretched slavery at the service of a single ideology or of an inhuman and pseudo-scientific economy".

  "We all know that there is no single political model. ... Each country has a characteristic genius and some 'demons', and each progresses along a path, which is at times painful but its own, toward a future that seems bright", the Pope observed, expressing the desire that "each people cultivate the qualities that characterize it in order to enrich others and to purify its 'demons', bringing them under control so that they might defend the greatness of human dignity".

  Benedict XVI then emphasized to each that one of the essential aspects of the duties as ambassador is "the search for and promotion of peace. ... An ambassador should be a peacemaker" and "peace is not just a political or military situation without conflict; rather it is the sum of conditions that allow concord among all and the personal development of each. ... Since Christ calls the peacemakers 'children of God' ... your mission ... is noble and elevated".

  "True peace", the Holy Father continued, "is not possible unless justice reigns ... which does not just refer to the social or even ethical spheres. It does not just refer to what is equitable or in conformity with the law. The Hebrew etymology of the word refers to what 'is adjusted'. God's justice is shown in the justness that puts all things in their place, all things in order, so that the world might be adjusted to God's plan and His order".

  "The noble mission of the ambassador", the Pope concluded, "therefore consists in employing your art so that all 'might be adjusted', so that the nation you serve might live not only in peace with others but also in accordance with the justice that it shows in the equity and solidarity of its international relationships and in which its citizens, enjoying peace, might live their beliefs freely and serenely and thus achieve God's 'justness'".

  In his letter addressed to the ambassador of Malawi, the Pope stated that "Africa is increasingly aware of the urgent need for unity and cooperation in facing the challenges of the future and ensuring sound and integral development for its people". In this sense he emphasized that "political leaders must have a deep sense of their duty to advance the common good, and thus be firmly committed to dialogue and readiness to transcend particular interests in the service of the whole body politic".

  To the Swedish diplomat, the Holy Father recalled that "maintaining a balance between competing freedoms represents one of the most delicate moral challenges faced by the modern State. ... the right to be defended against discrimination is sometimes invoked in circumstances that place in question the right of religious groups to state and put into practice their strongly held convictions, for example, concerning the fundamental importance for society of the institution of marriage, understood as a lifelong union between a man and a woman, open to the transmission of life".

  Benedict XVI expressed a "great concern" to the representative of Luxembourg regarding "the text of the law on euthanasia and assisted suicide that is currently being debated in parliament". In this context the Pope highlighted "the serious duty the politicians responsible have to serve the good of the human being" and expressed the wish that the people of Luxembourg "always reaffirm the greatness and inviolable character of human life".

  In his message to the ambassador of Tunisia, the Pope stressed that "dialogue between cultures and religions is an inescapable need in our days in order to act together for peace and stability in the world and to promote a true respect of the person and of fundamental human rights. ... Building a society in which each person is recognized in their dignity also implies the respect of freedom of conscience and freedom of religion for each. The expression of authentic religious convictions is the truest sign of human freedom".

  Speaking of the positive role that religions can play in society, the Holy Father noted in his letter to the representative of Kazakhstan that "it is incumbent upon the State to guarantee full religious freedom, but it also has the duty of learning to respect what is religious, avoiding interference in matters of faith and the conscience of the citizen".

  To the ambassador of the Fiji Islands, Benedict XVI wrote that "the Pacific region faces many challenges at this time, not least the effects of climate change, especially on island populations, and the need to preserve natural resources. The beauty of God's creation is especially evident to those who live in the South Pacific".
CD/CREDENTIALS/...                        VIS 20081218 (955)

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