Ten new ambassadors to the Vatican from all parts of the world were received by Pope Benedict in an audience on Thursday. Speaking to the group in French, the Pope explained that their role is to help the world obtain true justice by helping it become "adjusted to God's plan and His order."
The new diplomats hail from Malawi, Sweden, Sierra Leon, Iceland, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Belize, Tunisia, Kazakhstan, Bahrain and the Fiji Islands. Before receiving a country-specific written message from the Holy Father, the group was addressed in French.
The Pope began his thoughts by observing that the assembled group comes from diverse corners of the world and saying that this diversity "gives me cause to thank God for His creative love and for the multiplicity of His gifts, which never cease to surprise humanity."
Diversity, Pope Benedict noted, can cause fear at times, "which is why it is not to be wondered at if human beings prefer the monotony of uniformity." In fact, he said, "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."
This observation naturally led the Benedict XVI to turn to the realm of politics. "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."
While urging each country to cultivate their own unique gifts to "enrich others," Pope Benedict also called on the countries to "purify its 'demons', bringing them under control so that they might defend the greatness of human dignity."
Turning then to the ambassadors’ role, Benedict XVI emphasized that one of the essential aspects of the duties as ambassador is "the search for and promotion of peace."
Peace means "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," the Pope told the new diplomats.
"True peace," he explained, "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'."