.- Benedict XVI received today the Letters of Credence of Francisco Vazquez Vazquez, the new Spanish ambassador to the Holy See, as he recalled the Spanish people's constant attachment to the Catholic faith.
The Pope began his address to the diplomat by referring to his "fond memories" of Spain, "both for the friendliness of the people I met, and for the abundance and great importance of the many works of art and expressions of culture throughout her territory."
Pope Benedict stressed the " enviable heritage," of Spain, "denoting a brilliant history profoundly imbued with Christian values.” “If this were to be ignored or passed over in silence, it would lose a large part of its attraction and meaning, " he underlined.
Stressing the great vitality of the Church in Spain’s history, he invited for a “close collaboration between the Church and public institutions with the aim of achieving the integral good of people who, as citizens of their country, are also the much beloved children of the Church."
"The Church encourages believers to love justice and to participate honestly in public and professional life with a sense of respect and solidarity, in order 'to promote organically and institutionally the common good.' Pope Benedict added.
"For this reason the Church unreservedly proclaims the primordial right to life, from conception to natural end, the right to be born, and to form and live in a family without this being supplanted or obscured by different institutions.
Pope Benedict wished to make his forthcoming trip to Valencia, Spain, on the occasion of the World Meeting of Families, the opportunity to "celebrate the beauty and fecundity of the family founded on marriage, its exalted vocation and its irreplaceable social value. "
"The Church also insists on people's inalienable right to profess their religious faith without hindrance, both publicly and privately; and on the right of parents to ensure their children receive an education in keeping with their own values and beliefs, without discrimination or exclusion, be it hidden or explicit.”
Finally, the Pope referred to the "evangelizing mission" of the Church, part of which is "charitable activity."